Bay Area Experts Helping the Helpless

By Vicky Nguyen and Jessica Greene
|  Saturday, Jun 5, 2010  |  Updated 9:53 AM PDT
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Compare: Gulf Oil Spill Size vs. Bay Area

Duane Titus

Wildlife rescuers from the Bay Area responded to the Gulf region to help rescue and clean oiled birds.

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Staff from the International Bird Rescue and Research Center are doing everything they can to find, rescue, and rehabilitate the birds drenched in oil from BP's broken well. The number of birds now turning up each day has jumped from 4 to 54.

IBRRC Project manager Mark Russell has been talking with his colleagues daily and plans to join them in Louisiana. He says crews are going out daily on boats to find the injured and oiled birds.

They take them back to makeshift bird hospitals to stabilize them and wash them. The challenge now, finding places to release the birds, because more and more of their habitat is being consumed by the tar and oil washing ashore.

"I've never seen that many birds covered in that much oil in 20 years I've been working with them. This makes the Cosco Bussan spill look like nothing," says Russell.

The IBRRC has detailed ways you can help, donate, or volunteer on its site. Partner agency Tri-State Bird Rescue is also contributing to the effort to save birds and wildlife affected by the catastrophic spill.

Rescuing wildlife is a labor of love for and Duane Titus and Rebecca Dmytryk. The husband and wife team are directors of WildRescue in Moss Landing and respond to emergencies along the West Coast. When they heard about the disaster in the Gulf of Mexico, they knew they had to help.

Titus and a handful of others headed over to Lousiana's Gulf region at the end of April to get ready for what’s sadly become an everyday scene: Oiled birds. Dmytryk joined the group a couple weeks later. Both are now working with the Tri-State Bird Rescue team to find and clean the most heavily oiled birds.

“We focus on the ones that are drowning or stuck in the oil and the ones so impacted they can no longer feed.” Titus says on his Facebook page. “We will then focus on the heavily oiled birds that are still able to fly and feed, and then finally those with moderate oiling.”

You can follow Titus and Dmytryk’s mission and see more pictures on Facebook and through their blog.
 

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