Seabirds along the coasts of Washington and Oregon are mysteriously losing the waterproofing that protects their feathers. Without this waterproofing, the birds quickly develop hypothermia and have to expend much more energy to remain afloat. Unable to hunt, the birds become dehydrated and starve.
There are many theories concerning the cause, but none has been proven. It seems that a contributing factor may be the foam produced when red tide algae die and decompose.
It is estimated that over one thousand birds have washed up dead and almost five hundred have been collected by concerned citizens. The Coast Guard has airlifted hundreds of birds to a rehabilitation center in California for care.
Could this happen here? Yes, it already has on a much smaller scale. AND there have been reports of red tide in south Texas over the last several weeks. Is WR&E prepared? You bet!
The WR&E Wildlife Center has a team of State and Federally permitted and experienced wildlife rehabilitators that can care for all species of birds and mammals including endangered species during an emergency. We have the capability to set up remote facilities with the option of using the facilities available at the Wildlife Center. Each facility is capable of managing the treatment of 500 large seabirds such as pelican. The facilities can be modified to handle even greater numbers of smaller birds or mammals.
Response equipment is stored in 8 “push pact” containers that can be trucked or airlifted anywhere for oiled wildlife response, hurricane response or other wildlife emergencies. The containers include over 3000 various sizes of plastic crates/kennels, 44 large cases of towels, paper towels, trash bags, feeding bowls, etc. We have free standing wooden cages equipped with infrared heat. A 38 ft. bus with 24 stainless cages and 2 surgery tables with anesthesia machines is available for staging, triage or transport of animals to the Wildlife Center. The bus has a generator and is air-conditioned. A 48 foot custom built two section enclosed top trailer with a 10,000-watt generator, three air conditioning units with a built-in water tank and fueling station can also be dispatched. WR&E also has a 12 person van for the transportation of personnel and supplies.
Wildlife Rehab & Education is on the advisory council for the Texas State Animal Resource Team (TXSART), a program of the Texas Veterinary Medical Foundation that coordinates preparedness, response and recovery efforts for animals affected by disasters in the state of Texas.
Is WR&E ready to respond to a catastrophe of this magnitude? Yes we are!!