SeaWorld’s Rescue Team is ready 365 days a year to assist marine life that is in need. But did you know that a special team from SeaWorld’s Rescue program is trained specifically to respond to marine life that is endangered by oil spills?
I’m very proud to be part of that team and recently I attended the annual Oilapalooza conference, along with other SeaWorld representatives from our bird, marine mammal and sea turtle care teams. Organized by the Oiled Wildlife Care Network (OWCN), the conference is a great opportunity to gather member organizations to review and share new information on oiled wildlife care and to offer training workshops in preparation for an oil spill incident. The conference covered a range of topics, from California ocean ecosystem changes due to climate change to workshops on oiled sea otter handling and care.
By far the most rewarding part of attending Oilapalooza each year for me is meeting responders from all over the state of California that share the drive and passion to protect marine wildlife. The relationships that are formed at this conference not only are rewarding in themselves but they pay dividends to the protection of coastal California. The responders of the OWCN work tirelessly to train, learn, prepare, and practice wildlife rescues that we all hope we will never have to actually partake in. Seeing this team’s commitment to protecting marine life is always awe inspiring for me.
A little background on OWCN: SeaWorld San Diego is a primary care facility for California’s OWCN. The OWCN is the world’s premiere oiled wildlife response organization made up of more than 30 member organizations including world-class zoological facilities, universities, scientific organizations and rehabilitation groups. Their goal is to effectively offer the best achievable capture and care of oil-affected wildlife. If a major oil spill was to occur along the California coast, OWCN has the facilities and responders to quickly assist marine wildlife in need of care.