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On 2 February 2006, Sea Alarm was notified of an oiled wildlife incident in Estonia. Thousands of birds were oiled following an illegal discharge of oil in the Gulf of Finland. Local responders called for assistance, and the message reached Sea Alarm via Sweden and the UK.

Sea Alarm liaised with the International Fund for Animal Welfare’s (IFAW) Emergency Relief Team (US) and the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty against Animals (RSPCA) (UK). The three organisations set up a joint international effort to provide support to the Estonian response, which was led by the Ministry of Environment and supported by the Estonian Fund for Nature (ELF).

Within 24 hours, Sea Alarm (Hugo Nijkamp) and IFAW (Ian Robinson) were on site, advising and assisting the authorities and local responders, while experts from Europe and other parts of the world were mobilized. Under the Sea Alarm umbrella, Bird Protection Flandres (B), Project Blue Sea (D), Oil Spill Response (UK) and Royal Nioz (NL) sent experts to Estonia. IFAW mobilized its Emergency Response Team and RSPCA sent 3 experts.

A temporary wildlife hospital was set up and 107 live birds were treated. As part of the activities in the wildlife hospital, local people were trained, and a considerable pool of Estonian expertise is now available to respond to a future incidents. The Ministry of Environment is now updating the national oil spill plan which will include an explicit section on oiled wildlife.

For further information on this incident, please download the Fact Sheet.

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