The National Wild Turkey Federation has established the Gulf Coast Emergency Conservation Fund to help fund conservation and remediation efforts. The Federatoion said donations will be used to help the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and state wildlife agencies in Louisiana, Alabama, Mississippi and Florida.

“These donations are important because they will help state and federal agencies limit the damage to the Gulf Coast and its wildlife,” said George C. Thornton, NWTF CEO. “Please give to this worthwhile cause.”

While the full damage from the spill has not yet been realized, and the needs for cleanup not yet known, the NWTF said it is committed to assisting in any way possible. One project already in the works is donating NWTF transport boxes, which are typically used to transfer wild turkeys to suitable habitat, to state agencies.

Currently, boats patrol Gulf waters and use pet carriers to rescue animals covered in oil. The wax-coated NWTF transport boxes fold flat for easy storage until they are needed to safely transfer oil-soaked animals to safety, allowing boats to carry more rescue boxes.

The NWTF said it already has shipped 125 transport boxes to the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries in Baton Rouge. The boxes will be distributed to LDWF's incident command centers along the coast.

“The LDWF is dispatching several crews by boat each day to look for birds and other oiled marine life,” said Jimmy Stafford, LDWF's wild turkey and small game program leader. “These transport boxes will be much more convenient when carried by boat than the bulky pet carriers. It is very thoughtful and generous for the NWTF to offer this help and it is much appreciated.”

Robert Abernethy, NWTF assistant vice president of agency programs, added, “Shipping NWTF transport boxes for use by state agencies is one way the NWTF saw to help during this catastrophe. The Federation is dedicated to conserving wild turkeys, but our work doesn't stop there. We are committed to helping in any way we can to protect and restore the Gulf's fragile ecosystems.”