The Weidefeld Tierschutzzentrum (animal welfare centre) recently had the opportunity to send two of its staff (Katrin Umlauf, director and Katharina Stockem) to Wildlife Rescue Centre Ostend (WRCO) to improve their hands on skills in rehabilitation of oiled birds.
The link between these organisations was was forged during the mystery spill in Germany in 2008, when staff from WRCO travelled to Germany to assist with stabilisation, treatment and washing of oiled birds. During their 5 day stay in January, the Weidefeld responders were able to benefit from the knowledge and practical experience held within WRCO, which takes in significant numbers of oiled birds each year, many affected by chronic oiling. During the same period, Ida Almvik a volunteer from the Norwegian organization SWAN (Sea and Wildlife Alert Norway) spent three weeks with WRCO. This exchange visit was made possible under the EU’s Leonardo da Vinci programme, aimed at providing vocational education and training for European citizens as part of the EU Lifelong Learning Programme.
Both the German and Norwegian internships included training on WRCO’s oiled bird rehabilitation protocol as well as theory on caring for oiled birds, including feeding and rehydration schedules, housing and pool management. The responders also learned ways of being better prepared before oiled birds arrive in the centre, from stockpiling equipment through to managing volunteers.