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Wildlife Stranding experts hold annual meeting in Seward


Seward, AK – February 11, 2011 – This week 70 members of the Alaska Region Stranding Network met at the Alaska SeaLife Center to review the 2010 year in marine wildlife stranding and response as well as to coordinate plans for stranding response in 2011.

Participants included staff from Alaska Department of Fish and Game, the Alaska SeaLife Center, National Marine Fisheries Service, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the North Slope Borough, the U.S. Coast Guard, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife department, the University of Alaska Fairbanks and Southeast, as well as representatives from native communities, oil producers and stranding networks from other regions of the US. Updates were provided from strandings responders in the Kodiak, Aleutian Islands, Bering Strait, Arctic, Southeast Alaska, South Central and Yakutat.  Also discussed were communication strategies within the Stranding network and ways to prioritize stranding response calls in 2011.

The guest speaker for this conference was Dr. Mike Ziccardi, Director Oiled Wildlife Care Network (OWCN) of the University of California Davis.  Since 1996, Dr. Ziccardi has acted as an oil spill response veterinarian and coordinator for more than 45 spills nationally and internationally.  During spills, Dr. Ziccardi often works either as the Deputy Wildlife Branch Director at the Command Post, or as Care & Processing Group Supervisor or clinical veterinarian at the facility.  Dr. Ziccardi and Sara Wilkin from NOAA shared their experience with oiled wildlife response during the Deep Water Horizon oil spill.

“The Alaska Stranding Network continues to grow with the support of the agencies and the hard work of hundreds of dedicated members and volunteers statewide. We gain considerable knowledge from the many stranded dead and live marine animals that are reported each year.” said Tim Lebling, Alaska SeaLife Center Stranding Coordinator.  Lebling reminds the public that it is illegal to pick up a marine mammal without authorization and so encourages the public to continue to report any sightings of stranded marine mammals or seabirds in 2011 to the Alaska SeaLife Center Strandings Hotline – 1-888-774-7325.

The Alaska SeaLife Center is a private non-profit research institution and visitor attraction which generates and shares scientific knowledge to promote understanding and stewardship of Alaska’s marine ecosystems.  For more information regarding the Stranding Network, or any other aspect of the Alaska SeaLife Center please access the Alaska SeaLife Center website at www.alaskasealife.org.

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