What We Do
The Oiled Wildlife Care Network (OWCN)—a key program of the Karen C. Drayer Wildlife Health Center—is an organization that provides regional, national, and international readiness and response activities to oil spills. Founded in 1994, the OWCN was established in partnership with the California Department of Fish and Wildlife as a reaction to the devastating Exxon Valdez oil spill. Our vision was to make California the most proactive region in the world for oiled wildlife response: today, the OWCN comprises more than thirty different member organizations, including aquaria, universities, research organizations, and rehabilitation groups.
We are committed to providing the best proactive capture and care of oiled wildlife by utilizing innovative scientific research, involving exceptional personnel, applying pioneering medical treatments, and accessing advanced facilities. In accordance with this mission, the OWCN is guided by four core principles:
Readiness. By maintaining a system of fully equipped facilities and mobile response trailers, as well as trained personnel and volunteers, the OWCN is continuously prepared for the spontaneous occurrence of oiled wildlife events.
Response. The OWCN is comprised of more than thirty member organizations and maintains more than twelve specialized facilities throughout the state. Coupled with the organization’s innovative protocols, we are capable of responding immediately and effectively to an oil spill, giving wildlife the best chance of survival.
Research. In addition to engaging in self-directed research, the OWCN sponsors up to $250,000 annually toward research projects on the effects of oil on wildlife. To date, the organization has awarded over $3 million to more than 140 scientific studies, resulting in improved understanding of the care, treatment, and rehabilitation of oil-affected wildlife.
Reaching Out. Sharing knowledge and resources with other organizations and the general public allows for the global dissemination of information about the effects of oil spills on wildlife. The Network’s outreach includes development of informational materials, participation in and sponsorships of conferences, collaborations with other response organizations, and development of global oiled animal care standards.
How You Can Help
Since 1995, the Oiled Wildlife Care Network has responded to over 75 spills throughout California, caring for more than 8,000 oiled birds and marine mammals. Our dedication to helping birds and marine mammals would not be possible without your support. By donating, you allow the OWCN to continue striving for excellence in oiled wildlife care at a critical moment in their treatment. We appreciate your generosity.