I apologize in advance for a lengthy blog post, but it has been awhile since I have written last, and I have some great and exciting news to share on international efforts that the OWCN has been helping to move forward!
Over the past decade or so, as you might or might not know, the OWCN has been collaborating with most of the other larger wildlife response organizations in the world to develop a framework for a shared/mutually supportive international oiled wildlife readiness program. This effort has finally borne fruit this Fall, with the funding (by industry) of what is being called the Global Oiled Wildlife Response System (or GOWRS), and I am happy to share the basis of this program with our local OWCN partners!
After the Deepwater Horizon/Macondo spill of 2010, the International Association of Oil and Gas Producers (OGP) identified 19 areas that they felt required industry efforts to improve overall readiness and response (these recommendations can be found here). Initially, wildlife response was seen as a need, but could not be included in the initial efforts undertaken by a Joint Industry Project (or JIP) due to funding. Fortunately, a second round of funding was able to be found, and the GOWRS was officially launched as JIP20 in April of 2015.
The GOWRS is designed to be a two-year project which aims to involve leading oiled wildlife response organizations in a collaborative effort to:
- Address the gap between oil spill response preparedness and wildlife response preparedness on a global scale and;
- Develop the infrastructure for a future Tier 3 (or global) system for wildlife response, including:
- Commonly agreed animal care principles for oiled wildlife response;
- A standard operating procedure (SOP) for the collective mobilization of oiled wildlife response organizations;
- A roadmap for the development of readiness systems (trainings, equipment and exercises) for the oil industry to ensure operational readiness for a Tier 3 wildlife response system; and
- A governance structure that defines how the system is developed, operated, maintained and governed.
The organizations that are helping move this project forward include: Aiuká (Brazil), Focus Wildlife (U.S.), International Bird Rescue (U.S.), UC Davis Oiled Wildlife Care Network (OWCN) (U.S.), 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. (U.S.), Wildbase, Massey University (New Zealand), and Wildlife Rescue Centre Ostend (Belgium).
Currently, all of the partners are working hard (via Skype and e-mail methods) to generate the documents and procedures necessary to allow such an ambitious and far-reaching program to operate. As we move these methods forward, I hope to keep our OWCN Member Organizations better informed about our progress in this exciting effort!
There are other exciting National and International efforts that the UC Davis/OWCN staff are embarking upon to better help animals in need, but I will hold those for another blog, so stay tuned!