A week-long meeting held in Brussels in September 2015 marked the beginning of a multi-stakeholder oiled wildlife response project to address the gap between oil spill response preparedness and wildlife response preparedness on a global scale.
In contrast to overall oil spill response – where industry backed global organisations have agreements in place regarding how, where and when they will be mobilised – oiled wildlife response falls largely into the realm of small to medium sized NGOs with limited resources. And, while many countries and nearly every company within the industry have oil spill response plans that spell out how clean-up and containment resources will be mobilised, oiled wildlife is just beginning to be considered within those response plans as an international standard.
Given the importance of early intervention in increasing survival rates of oiled wildlife, having processes and procedures in place for wildlife response globally is a next step in improving such responses. This is especially important for Tier 3 spills (incidents requiring international resources) where large numbers of animals might be impacted and the resources of the nearest NGO are likely to be taxed beyond capacity.
The wildlife response organisations involved in this project all have an established track record in international wildlife response efforts and have worked together on various spills. This two-year project – funded as part of Phase II of the International Association of Oil & Gas Producers’ (IOGP) Oil Spill Response Joint Industry Project (OSR-JIP) -brings these organisations together in a collaborative effort to develop the foundations for a Tier 3 (global) system for oiled wildlife response.
To reach that point, a variety of work streams have been initiated as part of the project, including:
• Development of commonly agreed animal care principles for oiled wildlife response
• Development of a standard operating procedure (SOP) for mobilisation of international oiled wildlife response resources
• Development of recommendations for improving oil industry preparedness for wildlife response
• Exploration of how a collaborative open-ended multi-stakeholder system would be organised and operate.
The Brussels meeting was hosted by Sea Alarm (the project’s coordinator) and attended by representatives of the 10 project partner organisations (listed below) and the Chair of the OSR-JIP industry advisory group for this project. The team will meet again in February 2016 to review project progress.
• Aiuká (Brazil)
• Focus Wildlife International (USA/Canada)
• International Bird Rescue (USA)
• Oiled Wildlife Care Network (OWCN), Wildlife Health Center,University of California, Davis (USA)
• PRO Bird (Germany)
• Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RSPCA), (UK)
• SANCCOB (South Africa)
• Sea Alarm Foundation (Belgium)
• Tri-State Bird Rescue & Research, Inc. (USA)
• Wildbase, Massey University (New Zealand)
• Wildlife Rescue Centre Ostend (Belgium)