The Gulf Aide Project is hosting a fundraising event to help reptiles and amphibians affected by the BP oil disaster.
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The newly formed Gulf Aide Project aims to generate public support and funds for herp rescue and rehabilitation efforts in the Gulf. Photo courtesy Gulf Aide Project.
The Gulf Aide Project (GAP), a nonprofit organization dedicated to helping reptiles and amphibians affected by the BP oil disaster, plans to host its inaugural fundraising event this weekend in Oceanside, Calif.
The event, which is scheduled for Sunday, Aug. 1, 2010, will feature live animal displays, a silent auction, raffle and children’s art contest. It also will include speeches by Donald Schultz, the host of Animal Planet’s TV show “Wild Recon,” and Teri Shore of Turtle Island Restoration Network. In his keynote speech, Schultz is expected to focus on the effects pollution has on the Gulf’s natural habitats as well as the generations of species impacted by the oil disaster.
Money raised from the event will go to nonprofit organizations involved in herp rescue and rehabilitation efforts in the Gulf. GAP, which was formed three weeks ago by the San Diego Herpetological Society and EcoVivarium, is still reviewing grant applications submitted by various nonprofits, according to Susan Nowicke, president of the San Diego Herpetological Society.
The San Diego Herpetological Society and EcoVivarium, both herp-centered nonprofit organizations, formed GAP in response to the lack of public outcry for the reptiles and amphibians that are being impacted by the spill, Nowicke said.
“There’s nobody crying out about the herps dying,” she said. “In fact, many people think that may be a good thing, because they have some stigma attached to them.”
However, the reptiles and amphibians that call the Gulf Coast home are facing catastrophic losses as a result of the oil spill, Nowicke said.
“What we’re seeing are a couple of things,” she said. “The oil is moving farther in and, as it does so, not only is it directly affecting the wildlife, especially our herp habitats, it is also destroying part of the food web. As that food web damage happens, the destruction is going to spread even farther inland than the oil itself.”
GAP plans to attend several herp-related events over the next several months to drum up support for the cause. Upcoming events include the National Reptile Breeders’ Expo in Daytona Beach, Fla., on Aug. 20 to 22, the North American Reptile Breeders Conference and Trade Show (NARBC) in Anaheim, Calif., on Sept. 11 and 12, NARBC in Chicago on Oct. 9 and 10, Kody’s Expo of Exotic Reptiles and Pets in Long Beach, Calif., on Oct. 16 and 17; and the NARBC in Houston on Oct. 30 and 31.
Tickets to the inaugural event may be purchased in advance through gulfaideproject.org or at the door. Advance tickets are $5. Tickets purchased at the event are $10. For more information, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.