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37 responders now trained to ADVANCED level in the Netherlands

Thirty-seven responders have reached the ADVANCED level in the Netherlands, providing a solid base of workers who can apply EUROWA oiled wildlife rehabilitation protocols during an incident, as well as supervise and train volunteers.

Thirteen trainees completed the four-day ADVANCED course in February 2022, hosted by SON-Respons member De Fûgelhelling in Ureterp. The course took place thanks to support from Dutch authority Rijkswaterstaat within the framework of the Dutch oiled wildlife preparedness programme.

EUROWA trainers Isabelle Allemeersch and Claude Velter of Wildlife Rescue Centre Ostend, along with newly qualified trainer Hetty Sinnema from SON-Respons led the training. After completing four days of theory classes and practical exercises on field and facility operations, the trainees are now able to provide advanced care for oiled wildlife, following EUROWA protocols, acting independently from supervision. They are also qualified to coach and train BASIC responders, the entry level in the EUROWA training system.

This course was unique in that live oiled birds were available from a mystery spill which occurred the week before the course took place. The EUROWA network normally has to be creative in delivering skill labs which are as close to reality as possible, to maximise the learning experience of the trainees without using healthy, live animals.

But after storm Corrie, thousands of small patches of oil washed ashore on the North Sea coastline, impacting seabirds.Twenty-five oiled birds were taken in by SON-Respons rehabilitation centres and many more were found dead. The cause of spill has been investigated but with no result.

The presence of these oiled birds provided an opportunity to be involved in the rehabilitation process from a more realistic viewpoint. This was a real benefit to the trainees, particularly to be able to witness the washing and rinsing of live oiled birds rather than dummies or carcasses.

If you are interested in attending a EUROWA training course, or in organising one in your country please contact the EUROWA Secretariat.

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