The OWCN is the world's only oiled wildlife response organization boasting more than 30 different Member Organizations comprising world-class aquaria, universities, scientific organizations and rehabilitation groups. Established in 1994 by the Department of Fish and Game’s Office of Spill Prevention and Response (OSPR) in response to the Exxon Valdez in Alaska and the American Trader in Huntington Beach, the OWCN is administered by the UC Davis Wildlife Health Center in the School of Veterinary Medicine.
Recognized as an international leader in oil spill response, the OWCN focuses on four core areas to expediently and effectively offer the best achievable capture and care for oil-affected wildlife:
- Readiness: Continual training and drilling of facilities and personnel, and incremental improvements to wildlife contingency plans are critical for rapid deployment during oil spill disasters;
- Response: Providing immediate access to permanent wildlife rehabilitation facilities, trained personnel, and key supplies is necessary for giving care to oil-affected wildlife;
- Research: Exploring improvements to methods for collecting and caring for wildlife through active research helps to ensure the use of the best medical therapies during oiled wildlife rehabilitation efforts; and
- Reaching Out: Sharing knowledge and resources with the public and other wildlife professionals allows global dissemination of the best information possible on the effects of oil on wildlife and their environment.