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SeaWorld on standby to help with animals affected by Orange County oil spill

California Oil Spill orange county
Ringo H.W. Chiu / AP
A staff of California Department Fish & Wildlife examines a contaminated Sanderling from the oil spill in Huntington Beach, Calif., on Monday, Oct. 4, 2021.

SeaWorld said it is on standby to help rescue sea animals affected by the oil spill off of Orange County.

The massive oil spill Sunday off Huntington Beach will require a coordinated effort to help sea life affected by the oil in the ocean, said SeaWorld San Diego

SeaWorld is part of the Oiled Wildlife Care Network, which is a coordinated effort by animal care facilities in California to respond to injured and ill animals.

Kim Peterson, the rescue supervisor at Seaworld, said the team is ready to help.


“We are on standby. We prepared the building to accept those species of animals and we are just waiting,” Peterson said. “SeaWorld San Diego is going to be taking in affected sea turtles and any dolphins that come and land on the beach.”

More than 100,000 gallons of crude oil were estimated to have spilled into the ocean.

Wildlife conservation experts warned the oil spill is of extreme concern to migrating sea birds.

The executive director of the Oiled Wildlife Care Network said only four birds have needed rescue efforts but said it may be weeks to months until we see the full effects of the spill and more animals are likely to be recovered.

“The animals come in such dire need. A lot of them wouldn't make it if we weren't here to help them,” Peterson said.


Peterson described the delicate care that goes into saving these animals covered in toxic oil.

“So you think that getting the oil off is the very first thing we did, but it’s actually not the first thing," she said. "The first thing is to support them, their health and make sure they are strong enough so they can survive the stress of being washed. Then removing the oil is a lot of elbow grease, dishwashing liquid, and water.”

SeaWorld on standby to help with animals affected by Orange County oil spill

Peterson said there's no better feeling than releasing a sea animal back to the ocean once it has fully recovered.

Seaworld’s 8,000-square foot-center can hold up to 20 sea otters and 200 sea birds at one time.