Judging by the number of cat and dog videos on YouTube, people clearly love and care for animals, sometimes more than our fellow humans. In fact, when we hear about animals being orphaned, slicked over by big oil tankers, or caught in floating garbage, we first get angry – then we want to know how we can help.
Two California organizations are leading the way, with the help of Dawn dishwashing liquid. In partnership with California’s Marine Mammal Center and the International Bird Rescue (IBR), Dawn Saves Wildlife is helping educate people and improve the lives of animals. Who knew a dish soap could not only clean your dishes but be better equipped to de-oil a bird better than any other cleaner?
Both of these non-profit organizations rescue, rehabilitate and release wildlife that are malnourished, entangled in marine debris, abandoned, oiled from spilled tankers (or natural causes) and illness. The number of people and volunteers to keep both centers humming is humbling. Since 2006, Dawn has donated more than 50,000 bottles of dishwashing liquid and financial support to these two organizations, and has helped clean more than 75,000 marine animals in the U.S.
The Marine Mammal Center, Sausalito, Calif.
This facility focuses on sea lions, harbor seals, elephant seals and dolphins. Since 1975, more than 19,500 animals have been rescued off the 600 miles of the California coast.
When an animal in distress is reported (usually a call from a sunbather, a jogger, a dog walker or simply a passer-by), a trained volunteer arrives as quickly as possible, assesses the situation, often rescuing the animal and, if appropriate, frees it from debris or other entanglements while providing any necessary first aid. When possible, rescued animals are allowed to immediately return to their habitat. Sick, injured, or orphaned animals are brought to the center for treatment. Once there, they are diagnosed, treated, fed, given appropriate medication and tests.
Three sea lions were recently treated and reintroduced into the ocean after quite a lengthy stay at the hospital. Only two wanted to return to their former home – the other had to be recaptured after a valiant effort by the volunteers.
For more information or to plan a visit (it’s free), go to marinemammalcenter.org.
The International Bird Rescue, San Pedro, Calif.
Dawn dishwashing liquid has been a key partner with this organization and its workers for close to 40 years in the fight to clean birds affected by oil spills and pollution. As of July 28, 2015, the centre was caring for 111 birds ranging from pelicans to gulls.
It’s all about saving aquatic birds via emergency response. The rehabilitation process can often take about 12 weeks. Education, research and planning also play a huge role at IBR. Volunteers clean off oiled birds with Dawn (or secret sauce, as it is affectionately know). Its super cleaning power can clean the birds at a faster rate than other soaps. When you’re cleaning a frightened winged thing, the faster the better for everyone’s sake!
It’s not only large oil tankers that are a problem, it’s often smaller everyday spills that go unreported and unnoticed. Oil from personal watercraft and motorboats, run-off from streets, natural seeps under the ocean can all contribute to ocean pollution.
Actor Ian Somerhalder (Vampire Diaries, Lost), also a passionate environmentalist, was on hand to help release two California Brown Pelicans and one Western Gull into their habitat after a thorough cleaning and rehabilitation. The birds took flight immediately and the delight on the volunteers’ faces was its own reward.
Check out “We All Love Wildlife” video series on YouTube.