Oiled Wildlife Care Network in Mexico

OWCN Mexico

The Oiled Wildlife Care Network, as a leader in oil spill response worldwide, expand its geographic scope by assisting with the development of a group in Baja California, Mexico whose sole purpose is to capture and treat oiled wildlife. A Cooperative Agreement between Mexico and the U.S. has been in place since 1980, outlining methods of assisting each other in the event of an oil spill. This plan, called the MEXUS Plan, has several objectives, including minimizing the adverse effects to the marine environment, and details several potential needs for helping oiled wildlife.  However, up until the formation of the group, there were no specific plans explaining how wildlife would be helped during an oil spill. Kyra Mills-Parker, from the OWCN, was contacted by Graciela Guerra Rivas from the Universidad Autónoma de Baja California in 2013 to assist them in forming and training a dedicated group.

With some initial direction from the OWCN, the first official meeting of the Equipo de Atención a Fauna Silvestre Empetrolada (Oiled Wildlife Team) took place in September, 2013. Shortly after the team was formed, Oiled Wildlife Care Network staff traveled to Ensenada to give a two-day training that touched on everything from the effects of oil on wildlife and how to capture animals safely to how to stabilize birds on the beaches. That training ended with a tabletop drill, and set the stage for what stands to be a lasting partnership. The OWCN will continue to assist in further development and education of this Mexican group.

Graciela traveled with two architects from the Universidad Autónoma de Baja California to an OWCN facility in Los Angeles in summer of 2014 to better understand how an oiled wildlife facility should flow, setting the stage for the construction of their own facility in Ensenada.