Fort Wayne Children's Zoo Vet Organizing To Save Oil-Soaked Birds

By WISE Web News

June 18, 2010 Updated Jun 10, 2010 at 5:49 PM EDT

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (Indiana's NewsCenter) - Chances are you have seen some of the graphic heartbreaking images from the gulf showing pelicans and other wildlife struggling to survive while covered in oil.

A local veterinarian at the Fort Wayne Children's Zoo is ready to help clean things up and speed up the process.

Dr. Joseph Smith says zoos have the resources and staff to save oil-soaked wildlife.

However, Smith is doing more than talking, he's playing a key role organizing zoo caretakers around the country.

On Tuesday, Smith testified before congressional briefing, saying if you call on us, we can save oil-soaked birds.

Right now, Louisiana crews are saving birds by the dozens.

So far more than 440 birds have been rescued.

40 of them have been cleaned and released back into the wild.

Meanwhile, about 630 oiled birds have been found dead.

Dr. Smith's pledge, the national Association of Zoos and Aquariums are ready to jump into action.

"Certainly things down there are ramping up as the oil is washing a shore in larger quantities, more and more wildlife are being impacted. Right now they are using a lot of local resources to fulfill their needs but it won't be long that the local resources are depleted and they'll be looking nationwide for assistance," Fort Wayne Children's Zoo Veterinarian Dr. Joseph Smith.

Smith says wildlife clean up crews could be needed well into 2011.

"At this point, I'm organizing a lot of other people and so we do have institutions, zoos and aquariums that are already going and we're working on some other calls to actions right now to help with the aquatics side the sea turtles and marine mammals," said Smith.

Smith says he's not sure when Fort Wayne veterinarians will be needed, but his co-workers are trained and already have housing set up in Louisiana.

Smith says they are just waiting for the call.

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