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Wildlife rescue group halts donation drive

ALBANY -- The response to a Georgia group that quickly formed to respond to the impact the Gulf oil spill will have on wildlife has been so strong that the organization will -- temporarily, at least -- halt its donation campaign later this week.

Elliott Minor, a co-founder of the Georgia Wildlife Rescue Association, said Tuesday that the outpouring of generous support in south Georgia has provided an adequate supply of wildlife cleanup products, including Dawn dish-washing detergent, to meet almost any contingency.

Friday will be the last day for donations, which have been pouring into local Harvey's supermarkets, the Flint RiverQuarium and the Thronateeska Heritage Center for more than a week, Minor said.

"It is always gratifying to see south Georgians leap into action when they are called on in time of need," Chet Powell. a highly respected wildlife biologist and one of the group's founders, said on the association's Facebook page.

"The response from the public has been typical of what we expect from our neighbors," he added. "Thanks to you, the week-old Georgia Wildlife Rescue Association has already been recognized in the environmental community. The GWRA core team has received the proper initial training and all are now certified."

The group was formed immediately after the spill to mount a quick response. As the crisis unfolded, BP accepted financial responsibility for the spill and the cleanup and the oil slick didn't spread as quickly as some feared.

Powell's well-supplied group is in contact with the Unified Command Center on a daily basis and is prepared to respond when and if called.

Meantime, the association is looking beyond the spill to establish Georgia's first network of trained and experienced volunteers and professionals to respond to future wildlife threats, Powell said.