OSPR’s Spontaneous Volunteer Program developed in 1996, provides an opportunity for concerned citizens to safely and effectively participate in Unified Command approved volunteer tasks during an oil spill event.
The Oiled Wildlife Care Network (OWCN) (opens in new tab), coordinated through the U.C. Davis School of Veterinary Medicine, has trained professionals and veterinarians who will direct oiled wildlife search, collection, transport and rehabilitation activities. During an oiled wildlife event, oiled wildlife need to get out of the water, rest quietly on the shore and be given a chance to warm up. As a caring person, your first instinct might be to pick them up, but this can do more harm than help. Animals can be further injured (wings broken, bills dislocated, etc.) or you can be injured yourself. Animals do not understand good intentions; they see you as a predator and they defend themselves or run away. If oiled animals are scared back into the water by pets or people, their chances of survival decrease dramatically.
You can best assist by reporting oiled wildlife at 1-877-UCD-OWCN.