On Wings Of Care!
Thank you for your patience as we continue to upload material of current interest to this new website. We have been so busy with current activities that we have not yet uploaded all of the stories and footage since last summer, but we're getting there! As always, you are welcome to request from us information or material on specific activities of ours. All stories and photodocumentation of our work for ecosystems, wildlife, and domestic animals are for public benefit, not for monetary profit. We offer our services freely and share the fruits of our labors freely with the public and with others whose objectives are compatible with our mission.
Here's a sample of what we've been doing and where you can find out about it on this website:
Domestic Animal Rescues and Transports
Check out the tab on the main menu above labeled 'Rescues' and you'll find both 'Rescues in Progress' and 'Rescue Tails' (completed rescues). Sometimes the latest news on these busy and constantly changing activities are better found on our Facebook page here. (Or just search Facebook.com for OnWingsOfCare.org). In the past year, we've made more than a dozen cross-country flights, up and down the west coast, east coast, and between east and west coasts, flying animals from shelters and rescues and fosters to their forever homes. Sometimes we fill our planes with as many as 40-50 animals at a time, and sometimes we fly long distances to save just one. We help all sizes and breeds, dogs, cats, birds, and just about any other species that can be called a domestic animal in need of rescue. (No horses and cows yet, at least not in our planes. We recently gained access to a horse trailer, so we'll use that too if it's needed!) We have international ELTs and necessary certification to land in Canada in Mexico, and this has broadened our possibilities and usefulness to rescues, as there are many excellent rescue organizations in western Canada who have committed themselves to helping save animals from high-kill shelters in southern and central California. (Yes, high-kill animal 'shelters' still abound, as incredible as that sounds.) We are glad to be able to fly animals directly to them in Alberta and British Columbia, and no doubt we'll expand our destinations throughout more of Canada in the coming year.
This is the umbrella term we use to include work we do for marine life and ocean ecosystems, except for those specifically related to the Gulf of Mexico, since that has been a specific and intense area of work for us since the BP Deepwater Horizon disaster of 2010 April. Go the tab called 'Preservation', and under it you'll find 'Ocean Conservation.' Here you'll find our work for humpback whales who visit the Atlantic Ocean of the northeastern United States from spring to fall each year, as well as our work in Antarctica to put a stop to illegal poaching of whales in the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary, and finally our work in the warm Pacific ocean off of Baja, Mexico with great white sharks and elephant seals.
The Gulf of Mexico
We returned to the Gulf in early spring of this year, after having spent much time there from May through the end of last year, flying to help document the oil spill and its effects on the coastal ecosystems, seabirds, and the marine life from the shores to far out into the blue water. Go to the tab on the menu above labeled 'Preservation' and look under 'Gulf of Mexico.' Our most recent work there is under the sub-menu item called 'Gulf 2011.' All of our overflights are documented there, sometimes with the very notes we wrote in real time on our telephones and emailed to folks on the ground! We were disappointed to return there this March and find what looked much like the horrors we had been seeing all of last summer! Footage from flights this past Mar 22 and Mar 23 is particularly troubling, for we documented extensive subsurface plumes and some surface sheen west and southwest of the Chandeleur Islands (home of eons-old pelican nesting sites), and similarly extensive subsurface plumes and surface slicks extending southwest from a few miles offshore of Grand Isle.
Wildlife and Habitat
Also under the Preservation menu item above, the sub-menu item labeled 'Wildlife and Habitat' will bring you to our work to support veterinarians in the Galapagos, as well as our own hands-on work with wildlife in the U.S. The latter has included the rescue, raising, and release of small wild mammals such as raccoons, squirrels, and foxes; the evacuation of wildlife including seabirds during fires; and various rescues of injured wildlife wherever we find them or they are brought to us!
Also under the Preservation menu item, this is work we do for people! Yes, we also help our fellow homo sapiens, though we readily admit that sometimes in our efforts to help animals and ecosystems we find ourselves at odds with some humans. Among recent humanitarian activities, we were the first to fly planeloads of relief supplies to tornado victims near Tuscaloosa, Alabama. We were able to get the supplies quickly to folks in rural areas where roads remained blocked and impassable. On another front and on the opposite side of the globe, we helped coordinate the transportation for a large group of doctors and veterinarians to go from the United States to Tibetan refugee camps in northern India, where they treated both humans and local domestic animals for both trauma and disease. Humanitarian efforts by On Wings Of Care occur as the needs arise, and usually they are emergency situations.
We hope you'll enjoy the stories and footage, and that you'll find informative the issues we bring to attention about ocean and land ecosystems, wildlife, and animals in general.
Stay tuned for more, and let us know how we can help you or your cherished missions!
Some Highlights of On Wings Of Care's work during 2010
THE GULF of MEXICO
By Air: We flew more than 300 hours in the Gulf of Mexico between the BP Macondo well explosion in 2010 April and the end of the year. We helped scientists track the flow of crude oil and dispersant; we carried media and videographers to document the status of coastal marshes, offshore islands, and other critical wildlife habitat; and we worked with marine biologists in boats to find and monitor whale sharks, sperm whales, sea turtles, other marine life and sea birds.
Most days we seemed to be the only people out there other than a few oil skimmers and shrimp boats, beach cleanup workers, and helicopters flying to and from the oil platforms.
We have photos and video that will delight you, and others that will cause you pain. They speak the truth. You will see the survivors and the casualties and the environment that spelled life and death for the Gulf wildlife. You'll see what the oil and the dispersant looked like from day to day, radiating for hundreds of miles around the BP Macondo well. You may have seen some of the documentation we enabled on local and network news shows including NBC's Today show. We have extensive slide shows and many sample photos in our website gallery, and links to servers where you can see more. Most photos have metadata with date and GPS location.
By Land and Sea: We also worked in the Gulf by land and by boat. Together with fellow volunteers from the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society, we put in about 80 work days sampling sand and water from the beaches, offshore islands, inland bays, and coastal marshes, from Alabama to Louisiana. We caught local seafood and shipped it carefully on ice for comprehensive laboratory analysis. In November, we used special UV (365-nm) lamps to perform a comprehensive assessment of Mississippi and Louisiana beaches for contamination from oil and dispersant. Final laboratory results were made publicly available in early 2011. We continue to take samples and have them analyzed this year.
ANIMAL RESCUES, RELEASES, and TRANSPORT
We helped with more releases of rehabbed and rescued wildlife, in support of wildlife veterinarians and licensed rehab and wildlife care centers. We are always finding new ways to transport animals spared from euthanasia to new foster and forever homes. In 2010, we flew many dogs and cats throughout the western United States, including a few trips with more than 30 cats and dogs at one time from southern California up to Washington and Canada.
The last trip of 2010 was over New Year's weekend, where we flew 26 cats and 7 dogs to their forever happy homes in Washington and British Columbia, Canada. That was a tough flight, as the window of good weather was very tight; it was a bit of an adventure coming back when weather forced us to detour to Klamath Falls and then to Tonopah, NV on our way back to southern California. But that's what we do! We are the final link in heartwarming stories of heroic efforts by animals rescuers who have saved cats and dogs from death and misery by abuse, abandonment, starvation, and illness and cared for them until real homes were found.
WORLDWIDE RESCUE and WILDLIFE PRESERVATION EFFORTS
We inadvertently found ourselves the facilitator of several international humanitarian and animal rescue efforts. Several groups came to us asking for help with transporting tons (literally!) of medical and veterinary supplies to Tibetan refugee camps in northern India. Not exactly what we were used to doing, but that did not stop us! We found ways to help the veterinarians and medical doctors (Doctors Without Borders and heroefforts.org) get themselves and their supplies to the Tibetan refugee camps near Ambikapur, and even got direct assistance from the Governor of Chhattisgarh state in India for the final treacherous ground transport from Raipur up to the camps.
On another worldwide project, we began the arduous process of collecting and shipping several hundred pounds of urgently needed veterinary supplies and medicines to the Galapagos (with the help of DarwinAnimalDoctors.org). Besides performing everyday treatment for disease and trauma to endangered wildlife and domestic animals in the Galapagos, these veterinarians are volunteering their time and expertise to catch hungry feral dogs and cats, treat them as needed, spay/neuter them, and find real homes for them, for their sakes and that of the wildlife on which they prey. We have learned a great deal about how to accomplish these kinds of large-scale efforts.