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New veterinary clinic helps wildlife affected by oil spills

Oil spills heavily affect wildlife.
California Oil Spill Environment
Posted at 9:32 PM, Feb 01, 2022
and last updated 2022-02-02 00:32:15-05

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KERO) — Oil spill relief facilities are one of the most sought out places for wildlife care following a major spill but thanks to two organizations, a local zoo can now assist with this matter.

The California Living Museum has recently partnered with UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine’s Oiled Wildlife Care Network to extend animal care onsite with the addition of a new veterinary clinic.

“We’re one of the first inland facilities to work with them to build one. For us, what that means is that we’re going to have a new clinic that will essential be a vet hospital for us. Where we’re able to take and treat all of our zoo animals, all of our wildlife rehab animals, and then if there is a spill, we’d be able to treat those animals right here on the CALM site,” said Sharon Adams, Curator of Animals at CALM.

Adams said that oil spills heavily affect wildlife. One of the very things that they notice prior to cleaning them is severe dehydration.

Stabilizing the animal is crucial before the process of washing can begin.

“When animals do have oil on them, depending on the severity of it, it may start to burn their skin. It may cause issues around mucus membranes, like the eyes and the nose and the mouth, things like that if they’d ingested it then they’re going to become sick. It will cause them to not be able to function in the wild very well and so you can start to see things like dehydration, especially here in Bakersfield it gets hot. Animals can get dehydrated pretty quickly.”

According to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, there are different factors for determining the severity of the injury.

They stated that it depends on the type and quantity of oil spilled, the season and weather, the type of shoreline, and the type of waves and tidal energy in the area of the spill.

Adams said that therefore having a facility like this in Kern County is crucial.

“There is a lot of oil here in Kern County and of course nobody wants there to be some sort of big spill or big accident or something like that. But if there were to be a larger event, especially here in Kern County, oil rich, we would now be much more able to take those animals here at our facility so this just means that the animal response time will be much faster.”

At this time CALM is still fundraising for the facility and appreciates donations given from the community.

Those who are interested in donating can do so online or can drop off a donation on-site at the zoo.