Inland and Coastal Wildlife Abstracts
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Wildlife rehabilitation after an inland pipeline oil spill in the Southeastern Brazilian Atlantic Forest
Brazil is one of the countries with the largest pipeline networks in the world, for a total of 21.568 km, which crosses sizeable portions of biodiversity hotspots, such as remnants of the Atlantic Forest. In October 2020, an inland oil spill in the municipality of Silva Jardim, Rio de Janeiro state, Brazil, affected an environmental protection area. A mobile facility was set at the incident site for animal stabilization, and according to the species, for cleaning, and rehabilitation. Additionally, Aiuká’s rehabilitation center in Rio das Ostras was activated to assist animals that needed care. From October to December 2020, 117 animals were admitted. Most of the species admitted were amphibians (71/117; 61%), namely the South American Butter Frog (Leptodactylus latrans) (n=44), caecilians (order Gymnophiona) (n=16) and the Girard’s Dwarf Frog (Physalaemus signifier) (n=11). The ichthyofauna (Actinopterygii) was the second most affected taxonomic group (20%) - especially the Marbled Swamp Eel (Synbranchus marmoratus) (n=22), followed by reptiles (14%), birds (4%) and mammals (1%). Of the 117 animals received, 72 were oiled and presented either 100% (40/72), 75% (8/72), 50% (9/72), 25% (5/72) or 10% (10/72) of the body surface covered in oil. In addition, 100 out of the 117 animals were live at admission, of which 80 were successfully rehabilitated and released back to the wild (80%). The higher release rates occurred due to the rapid response with a team attending in loco and the availability of mobile unit on site, providing immediate care to the oiled animals. This case study provides insights to the continuous training of the responders and the facilities adaptations considering the wide spectrum of species involved in inland wildlife responses. Furthermore, this case study raises awareness to the impact of inland oil spills on amphibians, a Class currently under the spotlight of conservation efforts due to their high vulnerability to habitat change.
The Bow Jubail Spill Rotterdam 2018. Preparedness, Adaptation and Innovation
When the 23,196 tonne chemical tanker Bow Jubail accidentally struck a jetty in Rotterdam Harbour in June 2018 and spilled 217 tonnes of heavy fuel oil, it was very possible that the oil could affect local bird populations moulting and breeding in the area.
EUROWA ( European Oiled Wildlife Assistance) team members were deployed to support the Dutch authorities and animal welfare organisations within hours of knowledge that wildlife was threatened.
Despite an oiled wildlife preparedness plan in place for the Netherlands, the admission of large numbers of Mute swans ( Cygnus olor) from the harbour and inland waterways was not fully anticipated. Fortunately Dutch wildlife rescue organisations were able to organise initial collection, triage and stabilisation. They were also able to provide local expertise in the form of volunteers, bird ringers,animal food suppliers and knowledge of release sites.
EUROWA assessment teams identified a location for a Temporary Wildlife Hospital (TWH), which was fabricated within two days, with further equipment, plant and logistics teams arriving on site within 48 hours to assist setting up the facility
International teams from the US and Brazil were also deployed and brought further expertise to the European team to assist with the response.
Protocols to rehabilitate seabirds have been in place for many years, but with different taxa involved, some changes in processes and innovative ideas were required.
This presentation will highlight the setting up, adaptations, troubleshooting and solutions to ensure a successful response was achieved.
Medford Fuel Oil Release:
The Benefits of Partnership
International Bird Rescue
Clean Rivers Cooperative
On April 12th, 2022, a fire at a fuel depot in Medford, Oregon released over 18,000 gallons of combined lubricant, light fuel oil, and solvents into Bear Creek, a small river running through downtown Medford and into the Rogue River. The city of Medford is located in southeast OR, in the middle of agricultural and ranchland, not an area with petroleum development, refining, or transport, and has not been exposed to oil spills involving wildlife. Clean Rivers Cooperative (CRC) immediately activated International Bird Rescue’s (IBR) oiled wildlife response team, as well as their own wildlife response equipment, consisting of a 48’, purpose-built, wildlife stabilization trailer and a transport trailer loaded with wildlife response equipment. Oregon Dept of Environmental Quality, Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife and U.S. Fish and Wildlife managed the wildlife response. Since there is no oiled wildlife response center or equipment in the immediate area, the Clean Rivers mobile equipment, along with the experienced CRC personnel, were invaluable to the response and provided rapidly available, safe, effective, and expandable wildlife options. This paper is a case study for inland, remote spill response and the value of purpose-built, mobile equipment.
Publishing Permission Pending
Hoppily Ever After:
Lessons Learned from the Toro Canyon Creek Response
Oiled Wildlife Care Network
In August 2021, the Oiled Wildlife Care Network (OWCN) responded to a discharge of natural seep oil from a decommissioned well in Santa Barbara County, California. Approximately 600 gallons of oil had leaked into Toro Canyon Creek over a period of several months. Over ninety California treefrogs (Pseudacris cadaverina) and Baja California treefrogs (Pseudacris hypochondriaca) were recovered alive from within the contaminated creek. Frogs underwent processing, cleaning, and rehabilitation, with 98% surviving to release. Due to the lack of nearby treefrog habitat, the frogs were held in captivity until clean-up endpoints were met and they could be safely returned to their original place of capture. This meant that frogs were in rehabilitative care for up to 19 days, thus providing data for a total of 1,025 frog-days. Challenges included accurate weight assessment of such small individuals (weights ranged from 0.1-7 grams), appetite assessment, habitat maintenance, oil sampling, and determination of oil-free status following cleaning. Discussion of these challenges and some potential solutions can be found in the brand new OWCN Protocols for Oil-Affected Amphibians. This presentation will review the lessons learned from the Toro Canyon Creek Response, including processing, cleaning, husbandry, and nutrition of the smallest oiled patients in OWCN history.