Kohler Rental, part of the Kohler Co. (Kohler, WI) Global Power Group, is providing temporary power and air conditioning services to wildlife rehabilitation centers located across several Gulf Coast states. The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, Washington, a bureau in the U.S. Dept. of the Interior, Washington, established wildlife M*A*S*H units following the Deepwater Horizon explosion and subsequent oil spill that has been occurring in the Gulf of Mexico off the coast of Louisiana since April.
Included in Kohler Rental’s support effort is Fort Jackson Oiled Wildlife Rehabilitation Center, Buras, LA, an epicenter of bird rescue and cleaning operations located in Louisiana’s fringe coastal area, south of New Orleans. The center plays a crucial role in the effort to rescue, clean, and save the lives of hundreds of brown pelicans and other native bird species exposed to the crude oil that is polluting the Gulf of Mexico.
Helping wildlife caretakers combat Louisiana’s summer heat and humidity, Kohler Rental has brought in portable air conditioning equipment and power generators to run the units and power the equipment used to clean the birds. Including additional wildlife rehabilitation centers and temporary housing for volunteers and workers located in Alabama, Florida, Louisiana, and Mississippi, Kohler Rental has been called upon to deploy nearly 30 high-capacity air conditioners and power generators in support of the oil cleanup efforts.
“The men and women rescuing, cleaning, and nursing pelicans and other birds back to health in Gulf Coast states may not know Kohler Rental is onsite. And we’re not running the wildlife rescue camps. However, the people who do operate the rescue centers reached out to Kohler Rental and it’s our mission to climate control the rescue camp and deliver additional power. By providing a more comfortable working environment, Kohler Rental helps keep workers at their best throughout the countless hours spent caring for the helpless birds,” said Mike Nasif, general manager, Kohler Rental. “Kohler Rental is involved in something a lot bigger than Kohler and fortunately what we do—providing for temporary climate control and power needs—can make a difference. It has been awe-inspiring to see the passion and dedication of the people we support as they save wildlife affected by this environmental disaster.”
The Fort Jackson Center’s role in the crisis
Brown pelicans and similar bird species get oiled as they float on the surface of Gulf of Mexico waters or when diving for fish. Once oiled, the pelicans can lose the ability to fly, dive for food, or even float on the water. In some cases, an oiled bird will die of hypothermia or become ill as a result of ingesting oil while grooming themselves.
If found and rescued in a timely manner, oil-coated birds have an extremely high survival rate after receiving care at bird-cleaning camps. Upon arrival, each bird is given a physical and time to de-stress. Removing a bird’s oil-coat involves meticulous scrubbing with household dishwashing detergent, followed by a rinse and dry. Prior to being released into wildlife refuges located away from the Gulf, birds at Fort Jackson are placed in outdoor aviary pens, referred to as Pelican Island, for observation, recovery, and rehabilitation.—Gary L. Parr