AZA News Releases

Oil Spill Resources for Zoos and Aquariums

There is a coordinated effort underway for animal rescue. Diane Olsen (Assistant Curator, Moody Gardens) and Joe Smith (DVM, Fort Wayne Children's Zoo) have been working with members of the Avian Interest Group, Curators listserv, and the AZA Executive Office to coordinate volunteer efforts for both terrestrial and marine animal rescue.

Diane and Joe are in regular contact with US Fish and Wildlife Service as well asTri-State Bird Rescue & Research (Tri-State), USFWS’s primary contractor for terrestrial species in this effort. Sea turtles and marine mammal response is being coordinated by the Oiled Wildlife Care Network in conjunction with NOAA.

Diane and Joe are building a database from which they will coordinate with Tri-State, USFWS, and Oiled Wildlife Care Network when assistance is needed.

To get involved, please download this questionnaire, fill it in and return to Diane and Joe. This is the best way to offer assistance as opposed to contacting Federal agencies directly. An Emergency Response email listserv has been set up where Diane and Joe send regular updates about the current situation. Please email Joeto request being added to this email list.


The greatest anticipated need is for skilled professional volunteers to assist with transporting and handling wildlife. That’s where we can be most helpful should the need arise.

BP and the USFWS are requiring that any persons working directly with oiled wildlife be paraprofessionals, not volunteers.  Zookeepers are considered paraprofessionals.  AZA husbandry staff will be able to work with the animals where the general public will not be.  If staff signs up to volunteer through the many sites that have popped up, they will not be working with animals. 

BP Training - There is a requirement for each individual volunteer to take a freeonline BP training before they can be involved with the response effort. It comes with a scored test and is designed to provide everyone with both awareness and safety information for this endeavor. All volunteers are required to take this training, regardless of the level of previous training. It is estimated that the training should take between 30-60 minutes. 

When you have finished the training course, there will be a certificate page. Please be sure to print the certificate page and bring it with you to the site where you will be working.


There are currently no recommended or required vaccines for volunteers.

Staff travel and lodging - There is currently no plan for reimbursement for staff travel or lodging.  Institutions should plan on these costs should they choose to respond.

Liability - Responders will be required to sign a waiver relinquishing BP, the government and Tri-State from liability.  Institutions will be responsible for staff that they send to the site. Workmen’s comp should cover any injuries but check to be sure.

Not Needed

Donations - At this time, donations are not being taken by the major response groups on the ground.  British Petroleum (BP) has a legal obligation to pay for the clean up. It is suggested that funds raised be used to fund travel for staff if they should respond or donate to local rehab facilities.

Cleaning supplies - There is no need to collect or donate Dawn Dish Washing liquid – Tri-State has plenty and can easily get more. 

Animal Housing - There is no request for long-term housing of animals and there is no anticipated plan for that.

Hair -NOAA has a statement on its site that need for hair has been greatly exaggerated and that it will NOT be utilizing boom made with hair, as there are more effective, more sanitary, synthetic alternatives readily available.

Animal Collection Report

United States Fish & Wildlife Service publishes wildlife statistics everyday at noon on this site.

Oil Spill Resources Webpages

The Ocean Project has created an oil spill resources webpage that can be customized to each institution's logos, look, etc. Please contact Bill Mott at The Ocean Project to learn more. 

Please contact Linda Cendes at AZA if you have any questions, comments or contributions to the content of this page or the general zoo and aquarium response page.

I Accept

This site uses cookies to offer you a better browsing experience. If you continue using our website, we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies on this website and you agree to our Privacy Policy.

Find a Zoo or Aquarium Donate to AZA Contact Us Member Login Search the site