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Introducing OSRL Members to Wildlife Incident Management at the AGM 2023

Wednesday, July 5, 2023

Wildlife Emergency Preparedness and Response

As part of the short course offerings at this year’s AGM in Southampton, some of OSRL’s Wildlife Core Group - Paul Kelway (OSRL’s Wildlife Preparedness & Response Manager) ​Frankii Rouse, and James Thompson - collaborated with Hugo Nijkamp from Sea Alarm and Michael Ziccardi (Chair) and Adam Grogan (Coordinator) from the Global Oiled Wildlife Response Service (GOWRS) to ​deliver ​a half-day interactive workshop on Wildlife Incident Management. 

We had 16 of our members participating in the workshop which included Sea Alarm’s ‘WildX’ Tabletop Exercise Game facilitated by Hugo. The game uses maps, cards, and dice to generate specific oil spill incidents and variables that would affect the response, such as coastline, wildlife specific to the country, stakeholders, and resources available to them. It gives the players the chance to work out what the key challenges will be for wildlife and how best to respond.

The group was then led by Mike and Adam from GOWRS through an activity to create an incident-specific wildlife response plan using a template that has been developed by the Wildlife Preparedness & Response Community of Practice Group, a multi-stakeholder forum that includes OSRL Members and other key stakeholders that meets quarterly to share experiences and lessons-learned in implementing wildlife response preparedness.

We had some fantastic feedback from participants and a few commented that it had opened their eyes to the potential challenges for an Incident Management Team including scenario complexities and resource needs in dealing with a wildlife incident.

As well as the short course, members were also treated to a look around the wildlife response equipment during the Members Forum with Paul Kelway, ​​and Mike and Adam ​     ​from GOWRS sharing some insights on how Tier 3 equipment packages would support the three main strategies in a wildlife response:

1. Primary Response: Keeping the oil away from animals 
2. Secondary Response: Keeping animals away from the oil.
3. Tertiary Response: Mitigating the impact on oiled animals through capture and rehabilitation.

Finally, Paul (OSRL), Hugo (Sea Alarm), Mi​ke ​and Adam (GOWRS) delivered a session for OSRL’s new Response Team recruits and other staff on the Wildlife SLA services, which was organised by OSRL’s Rhea Shears, another member of the OSRL Wildlife Core Group. 

As part of the new responder training programme, they also gave the new recruits a tour of the wildlife equipment pallets in Southampton including a practical lesson in deconstructing the Fastank pool and filtration system, which is designed for use as conditioning pools for aquatic birds as part of the rehabilitation process in an oiled wildlife response.

The AGM events were a fantastic example of collaboration between OSRL’s Wildlife Core Group and our wildlife partners from Sea Alarm and GOWRS, and we were hugely grateful for the time, resources and expertise they gave during the week.