Bill Dwyer, the technical expert of the New Zealand Wildlife Health Centre recently visited the Sea Alarm offices as part of a fact-finding mission taking him to Switzerland, Belgium, France, Finland, and San Francisco. The purpose of Bill’s tour of several weeks was to identify outstanding features of other oiled wildlife response facilities, to assess the relative standard of preparedness in New Zealand and to pick up new ideas and insights.
Sea Alarm put Bill in contact with key European organisations, and in the end he was able to visit the new facilities of the Wildlife Rehabilitation Centre in Ostend (B), the mobile equipment on trucks of la Ligue pour la Protection des Oiseaux (F) and the new mobile units designed and realised in Finland, e.g. by the Finnish Environment Institute.
New Zealand is already very well prepared for an oiled wildlife incident and has an integrated oiled wildlife plan in place. The Wildlife Health Centre is contracted by the authorities to play a key role in this preparedness and will take a coordinating position in case of a wildlife incident response. It has developed mobile facilities (designed by Bill Dwyer and described in an earlier Sea Alarm newsletter) and runs a training programme for wildlife responders from different parts of the country. The Centre also identifies buildings in coastal regions that could be used to set up rehabilitation centres. For more information, please visit the New Zealand Wildlife Health Centre website.