Local animal rescue groups told to not help with clean-up

The Wildlife Sanctuary of Northwest Florida has been instructed by federal official to not rescue or care for any wildlife hurt by the BP oil spill. BP has hired a contractor to do that.

Email from Resee Collins of the U.S. Fish &. Wildlife Service to Dorothy Kauffman, director of the Wildlife Sanctuary which as been in this community for 28 years and is licensed and permitted to take care of wildlife:

FYI Letter,

Thanks Rehabilitators who have already expressed an interest in and are standing by ready to help with oil spill response. An announcement is currently being prepared that will advise people what type of help is needed and where to send your information. Tri State Bird Rescue and Research has been contracted by BP to coordinate all wildlife response and an oiled wildlife hotline has already been established at -1-866-557-1401 for wildlife rescue and recovery. The Region 4 migratory bird permits chief Carmen Simonton is also onsite in Louisiana helping to organize the response efforts with TriState.

If you are not familiar with TriState, please visit http://www.tristatebird.org/ ,they are considered among the world’s leading oiled wildlife incident responders.

The hardest part about this incident is waiting and thinking about what could happen. But in the best interest of our wildlife, the response effort must be coordinated to be the most effective and efficient.

Thank you all!

Tri-State Bird Rescue & Research is a nonprofit conservation organization located in Newark, Delaware that was organized specifically to take care of birds harmed by oil spills. It was founded by Lynne Frin, who also founded the Delaware Audubon Society.

At the Saturday DEP/BP briefing with Gov. Crist, DEP Secretary Mike Sole appeared to be worried when Commissioner Gene Valentino told the governor that he had 300-500 volunteers at Perdido Bay Community Center ready to help. Valentino said that they are ready to be trained to do whatever is necessary to help. Sole told the governor that while he has asked the day before for local volunteers at the Sen. Bill Nelson’s press conference at the Pensacola Chamber, volunteers should only pick up debris on the beach. BP has contractors to do the clean-up and volunteers shouldn’t interfere.

Bobby Kennedy, Jr. told him that he had seen tactics like this before and that he believes that BP is trying to control any information released to the media.

“Rick, they don’t want the public to get a real head count of the damage to wildlife or see the real damage being done to our shores, bays and estuaries,” Kennedy says.