Oiled Wildlife Care Network

Photo: OWCN wallet card
Click here to download the OWCN's wallet card on what to do if you encounter oiled wildlife

Report an Oiled Animal

If you see an oiled animal, please do not touch or approach it! Instead, please report the animal(s) to the OWCN Response Hotline at 1-877-UCD-OWCN (823-6926). 

Be prepared to report the type (e.g., bird, seal) and number of animals that you observed, as well as the specific location (e.g., beach name, nearby cross streets, local landmarks) and time of the sighting. 

Why shouldn't I attempt to capture an oiled animal?

Oiled animals come to shore because they are cold and exhausted. If you approach, they will attempt to return to the water. This will reduce their chances of survival. 

Handling oiled animals can pose a health and safety risk to both you and the animal you are trying to rescue. 

Wild animals can cause injuries and carry disease. Oil is a dangerous chemical that can cause damage to the skin, respiratory, and gastrointestinal tracts.  Oil can damage internal organs, such as the liver, and may cause cancer.

During an oil spill response, we will deploy trained wildlife rescue personnel to collect oiled animals. Even when there isn’t an active oil spill, it is not uncommon to find individual animals affected by natural seeps of oil along the California coastline. OWCN Member Organizations are equipped and trained to care for these individual oiled animals.   

If you have already captured an oiled animal:

  1. Keep it confined in a closed cardboard box with ventilation holes in the top and sides. 
  2. Do not attempt to feed or handle the animal. 
  3. Place the box in a warm, dark, quiet area away from humans and pets. 
  4. Call 1-877-UCD-OWCN as soon as possible. 

Please click here to download a wallet guide with this information.