Experts said on Monday, October 4, people should not approach or touch oiled wildlife, and instead call a special hotline to report the animals.
That hotline is 877-UCD-OWCN (877-823-6926).
An oil spill off the coast of Huntington Beach over the weekend, with at least 126,000 gallons leaking from a pipeline, potentially threatened wildlife, though officials on Monday offered an optimistic assessment — so far only about 20 animals. have been affected.
Still, rescue and rehabilitation centers stand to acknowledge the wildlife currently affected, according to the Marine Mammal Care Center in San Pedro, part of the state’s Oiled Wildlife Care Network.
But people should never handle or touch oiled wildlife, experts say.
“We’ve been asked many times what people can do if they want to help,” said Michael Zicardi, director of the UC Davis-based Oiled Wildlife Care Network. Do not try to catch animals that are oiled. It is not safe for animals, it is not safe for them, as the oil can be a toxic substance. We want them to immediately report those sightings to our hotline.”
International Bird Rescue spokesman Russ Curtis also said the oil is a carcinogen.
But he also said that people should stay off beaches – many of which are closed – altogether, because their presence could hinder professional rescuers from finding and rescuing animals.
“Oiled wildlife really gets carried away by the oil and to give them time to thermo-regulate, they will start to beach themselves,” Curtis said, “but only when they feel safe.” are, often in the morning or at night.
Curtis said the presence of people and dogs on the beach can scare away the birds.
“The public doesn’t understand that birds are already stressed,” he said. “They see us as hunters.”
And as far as helping oiled wildlife goes, Curtis said, people should leave it to the professionals.
International Bird Rescue has, in fact, sent staff to the field and is also standing at their clinics, including one in San Pedro.
“We were born in 1971 to protect the wildlife affected by the oil spill,” Curtis said in a release. “Bird Rescue has responded to more than 230 spill and large-scale wildlife emergencies over the past 50 years. We are committed to providing all requested wildlife assistance to the authorities and our wildlife rehabilitation operations to accommodate oiled wildlife. are adjusting.