Arkansas Group Cleans Animals After Oil Spill

Apr 1, 2013

A duck before her bath.
Credit HAWK Facebook Page

As cleanup efforts continue after the oil spill in Mayflower, Exxon is calling on various community groups for help.

Lynne Slater is the Executive Director of HAWK Center in Russellville. Her group is an all-volunteer organization with experience in wildlife rehabilitation. 

Slater says Exxon contacted her organization over the weekend to see if they could transport animals covered in oil to her facility for cleaning and monitoring.

“So we started prepping and here we are. They are coming in. So far it’s just been waterfowl, but we have received calls for egrets, for herons, for otters, and for beavers,” says Slater.

Slater explains the process.

“You can not start cleaning an animal until it's stable, so we have to make sure [the animals are] stable before we start washing them. Then it’s a simple matter of washing them with Dawn. Of course we all have to wear personal protective equipment to make sure we are not breathing these noxious chemicals ourselves and that it’s not getting in our eyes or on our skin,” adds Slater.

A male Muskrat recovering from anesthesia.
Credit HAWK Center Facebook page

Slater says she anticipates a financial contribution from Exxon for the animal rehabilitation efforts, but she says the work will continue whether that happens or not.

Her group has posted a wish list to its Facebook page and also received several cases of Dawn soap from area Wal-Marts.

Update from HAWK Center Facebook page on April 2, 2013:

As of today, Wildlife Response Services has taken over all oiled wild animal care. They are experts in oiled wildlife rehabilitation and headed up the oiled wildlife team that responded to the Gulf oil spill. Wildlife Response Services is federally permitted to do wildlife rehabilitation and is more than capable of caring for the anticipated patient load.