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December 10, 2001

Oiled birds flood rescue center; volunteers needed

More than 170 seabirds have been injured by an oil spill off the coast of San Francisco, and officials at the oiled-bird rescue center in Cordelia are asking for immediate help from the public.

Needed are volunteers age 18 or older who can work four-hour shifts at the center, helping trained rehabilitators clean the birds, prepare food, clean pools and wash soiled towels. Shifts run from 8 a.m. to noon, noon to 4 p.m., and 4 p.m. to 8 p.m.

All bird care is directed by specialty veterinarians of the UC Davis Wildlife Health Center and professional rehabilitators of the International Bird Rescue Research Center.

Persons interested in volunteering should call the San Francisco Bay Oiled Wildlife Care and Education Center at (707) 207-0380, extension 107.

Just two weeks ago, about two dozen oiled birds were brought to the rescue facility. All had been injured by a spill from an unknown source. About half of those survivors have recovered and been released back into the wild. The rest are still recovering.

Officials said today they did not know yet whether the oil slick discovered on Saturday (Dec. 8) is from the same source.

Thanks to research advances, oiled birds that make it to a well-qualified rescue center have a very good chance of survival. For example, after the Treasure Spill off Cape Town, South Africa, in the summer of 2000, the veterinarians, rehabilitators and volunteers who cared for 20,000 oiled penguins saved more than 90 percent of the birds.

The San Francisco Bay Oiled Wildlife Care and Education Center is one of 25 rescue centers in the California Oiled Wildlife Care Network (OWCN), which is the world's most sophisticated rescue system for oiled wildlife. The 12,000-square-foot facility can care for up to 1,000 birds. It includes an animal hospital, cleaning areas, and pools and aviaries for recovery.

The Oiled Wildlife Care Network is funded by the California Department of Fish and Game's Office of Spill Prevention and Response. The Fish and Game monies come from interest on the $50 million California Oil Spill Response Trust Fund, which was built from assessments on the oil industry.

The UC Davis Wildlife Health Center is a unit of the UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine.

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Media contacts:

• Sylvia Wright, UC Davis News Service, (530) 752-7704, swright@ucdavis.edu

• Karen Benzel Office: (831) 622-7588 E-mail: karen@ibrrc.org

 

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