Defending the Gulf
Sea Shepherd is assembling a very special team including personnel trained in wildlife hazmat operations, wildlife veterinarians, marine wildlife rescuers, ocean divers, boat handlers, commercial pilots, and scientists in anticipation of our campaign Operation Gulf Rescue. Our intent is to go to the Gulf as soon as possible with a vessel and trained crew, to augment and support ongoing efforts to find, transport, and treat animals viable for rescue, and to help mitigate harmful effects of the oil on the ocean ecosystem. Sea Shepherd is in the process of coordinating with authorized agencies in the Gulf to gain the necessary permits to mount this operation.
Dr. Bonny Schumaker
Sea Shepherd’s liaison for Operation Gulf Rescue is Dr. Bonny Schumaker. Dr. Schumaker is already in the Gulf, working with local government and industry to understand the implications of the oil spill and what can be done to start repairing the immense damage done to the Gulf of Mexico. While her NASA colleagues overfly the Gulf with spectral imagers to see the big picture, she is also using her commercial pilot skills along with skilled photographers such as Sea Shepherd Board Member Kurt Lieber and volunteer JoAnn McArthur to document on a local scale the effects of the oil both off shore and near shore. Those photos are raising public awareness of problems that go even deeper than the horrors of birds and turtles washing up onshore covered by or having suffocated from oil, such as the large nesting colonies on the offshore islands, where thousands of pelicans and egrets are now sitting on hatchlings but dining on oiled fish, doomed to death and disease of internal organs. Dr. Schumaker and other Sea Shepherd volunteers have also used boats to help find oiled wildlife in nearby shore areas hardest hit by oil so far. This valuable reconnaissance has served to identify what kind of help is most needed and where in the Gulf, and who are the appropriate authorities with whom Sea Shepherd should work to be most effective there.