Oil Spill Response
It has only been by good fortune that the Texas coast has avoided a serious oil spill for quite some time, and Zoo staff felt it was important to be ready to help the animals in case one occurred. In February 2008, Wildlife Rehabilitation and Education Center (WR&E) held a training session specifically dedicated to oil removal and recuperation for 45 volunteers at the Gladys Porter Zoo.
Each time an oil spill is reported, personnel from the Texas General Land Office (GLO) must investigate. Small spills are cleaned up using local resources; if the oil spill is considered major or if wildlife is involved, an Incident Command response is initiated. A trident of the U.S. Coast Guard, the GLO and the oil spill’s source, aka “the responsible party” will organize a response and clean up.
The primary contractor for oiled wildlife response in Texas is the WR&E, headquartered in Houston. In the event of a spill, the WR&E would mobilize equipment and personnel to a clean-up point. In the Rio Grande Valley, that clean-up point is the Zoo. Staff from Texas Parks & Wildlife Department and U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service would then collect oiled animals and deliver them to the Gladys Porter Zoo. If you see an oil spill, call either National Response Center at 800-424-8802 or the Texas General Land Office at 800-832-8224 immediately.
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