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Wildbase team visit Oiled Wildlife Care Network

Kerri Morgan and Louise Chilvers from Wildbase visited University of California Davis’ Oiled Wildlife Care Network (OWCN) in July 2014 to discuss potential collaboration on teaching and research.

University of California Davis’ Oiled Wildlife Care Network (OWCN) undertakes oiled wildlife capability for the state of California. Since 1995 the organisation has responded to more than 75 oil spills throughout California and has cared for more than 8,000 oiled birds and mammals. The OWCN is the only tertiary institute other than Massey University’s Wildbase Oil Response that undertakes an oiled wildlife capability.

The team of nine, who have a broad array of skills and expertise in oiled wildlife preparedness, response, research and training, were very welcoming and impressed Kerri and Louise; as did the extensive facilities and equipment available for an oiled wildlife response.

OWCN’s rehabilitation centre in Fairfield is ideal for oiled wildlife response and is an excellent centre for International Bird Rescue to use in ‘peace’ time. The marine mammal centre in San Francisco was equally as impressive and got the marine mammal scientist in Louise excited about research opportunities. Kerri and Louise discussed current oiled wildlife research projects with OWCN and research ideas for potential future collaboration. They also discussed current training practices and future strategies for training oiled wildlife responders.

At the conclusion of the visit Louise Chilvers was able to attend the funeral of Jay Holcomb who was the executive director of International Bird Rescue. He was an “icon in the world of wildlife rehabilitation and a relentless pioneer in oiled wildlife care since the 1970”. The full tribute to Jay is found on International Bird Rescue’s website

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