Wildlife rescue and rehabilitation
BP worked under the direction of the Unified Command and with nationally- recognized wildlife groups to develop specific rescue and rehabilitation programmes for nesting turtles, migratory shore birds and other species
Experts from the US Fish and Wildlife Service, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the National Park Service, as well as state agencies worked cooperatively with BP to identify the most sensitive wildlife habitats and prioritize appropriate spill counter measures. These measures included placing booms around wildlife refuges, state wildlife management areas and rookeries along the coast. In some areas, approved, non-harmful methods were used to deter wildlife from entering oiled areas. Where seasonal nesting activities occurred, clean-up operations were temporarily suspended. These areas were then monitored by wildlife specialists to determine the appropriate time to resume clean-up operations.
Within days of the accident, BP established a hotline for the public to be able to report sightings of impacted wildlife. The wildlife reconnaissance and recovery team’s goal was to respond as quickly as possible to reach and capture injured animals and take them to the nearest rehabilitation centre.
At its peak, four bird rehabilitation centres, three bird stabilization centres and seven marine mammal and sea turtle rehabilitation centres were opened in strategic locations along the coast, supported by dozens of response teams and hundreds of trained wildlife rescue and rehabilitation professionals.
Once in rehabilitation centres, injured wildlife were tagged, medically assessed by wildlife specialists, given medication, water and food and then cleaned following certified guidelines for each species. BP worked with a number of wildlife agencies to determine appropriate locations for releasing rehabilitated wildlife along the Gulf Coast.
Between April 2010 and 2011, the US Fish and Wildlife Service reported 2,303 birds dead and visibly oiled, 18 turtles dead and visibly oiled, and 10 marine mammals dead and visibly oiled.
As part of the response, 2,086 birds, 456 sea turtles, and two marine mammals, all of which were visibly oiled, were rescued and cared for, and in most cases, released.