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Responsible for establishing and implementing stabilisation protocols prior to washing.

The cleaning of oiled animals is known to be a stressful experience and is now not undertaken until the animals are stabilised 1,2,3.

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Fast retrieval and effective triage and stabilisation is essential1. Ensuring that animals are in the best condition possible for each of the rehabilitation stages increases the odds of their survival 1,4, 14.

Due to the isolated location of the oil spill it might be useful to set up a forward holding centre 4,5,6.

Triage and initial / full stabilisation can be carried out here before moving on to a proper facility 7,8.

The size of this temporary centre should depend on the number of animals affected by the oil spill and the ability to staff the centre 5.

The technique of creating a forward holding centre can be applied with a minimum level of preparation, only requiring a small number of staff with the knowledge to establish and manage the centre effectively 4,12.

Priorities:

Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)

Netting for in-house enclosures

Crop and feeding tubes

Food supplies

Thermometers

Scales

Air conditioning units for each room providing 12–15 air changes per hour – reducing potential secondary problems e.g. Aspergillosis

Heat lamps, blow heaters

Cotton material e.g. cotton buds, cloths

Gauze swabs

Artificial tears

Human first aid kits

Volunteers! Along with necessary training.

There have been many different versions of triage protocols published and trialled in the event of an oil spill 4,9,12.

However, triage is a continuous process. During stabilisation the triage protocols set out by the intake supervisor must be kept in mind 12,14. 

Oiled animals are continually monitored and assessed before leaving this stage 4,14.

Some animals will deteriorate and some will have to be euthanised 13,15,16.

Oiled animals need to meet certain criteria during stabilisation before they move on to the next stage for washing 1,4.

The goal in rehabilitation for oiled animals is to release a healthy individual who cannot be differentiated from another unaffected individual 2,4.

Good effective protocols for treating and housing of effected individuals are vital for the rehabilitation of wildlife that has been subjected to any oil spill 3,5.

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