Silver Spring, MD- America’s leading zoos and aquariums are mobilizing to help save wildlife impacted by the Gulf of Mexico oil spill. Zoos and aquariums have been identified by key Federal agencies, including the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the United States Fish and Wildlife Service, as important partners in animal rescue and rehabilitation for the Gulf’s wildlife.
“Accredited zoos and aquariums have a unique expertise with animals that can support the clean-up effort,” said Jim Maddy, President and CEO of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums. “Many zoos and aquariums already have animal rescue and rehabilitation programs in place, and their trained personnel and existing infrastructure are being made available to help with the oil spill response.”
Currently, it appears that the greatest need is for skilled professional volunteers to assist with transporting and handling wildlife. Aquariums and zoos across the country are ready to send their professional staff to assist with the rescue, rehabilitation and release of animals back into the wild.
Thirteen AZA-accredited zoos and aquariums are located along the Gulf Coast, but many more AZA-accredited institutions around the county have stepped up to help. Institutions as far away as Newport, KY and Boston, MA are already organizing and lending expertise to aid rescue efforts in the Gulf.
“The Audubon Nature Institute would like to thank zoos and aquariums across the country for their help with the oil spill,” said Ron Forman, President and CEO of Audubon Nature Institute in New Orleans. “Many zoos and aquariums helped us in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina and continue to lend their support during this current disaster.”
A list of current rescue efforts by accredited zoos and aquariums and more information can be found at www.aza.org/oilspill/.
Founded in 1924, the Association of Zoos and Aquariums is a nonprofit organization dedicated to the advancement of zoos and aquariums in the areas of conservation, education, science, and recreation. Look for the AZA logo whenever you visit a zoo or aquarium as your assurance that you are supporting a facility dedicated to providing excellent care for animals, a great experience for you, and a better future for all living things. The AZA is a leader in global wildlife conservation, and your link to helping animals in their native habitats.
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