Proposed federal budget cuts for 2013 will wipe out about $4 million that was targeted for the rescue of marine mammals.
“The cut to this grant program would be a huge hit for us. There’s just this one small parcel of money for stranding work from the federal government. We do this work fulfilling a mandate that NOAA has, and it’s important that they support it”, said Katie Moore, manager of the International Fund for Animal Welfare. (Source: Public Radio International)
If the budget is approved, all funding for the National Marine Mammal Stranding Network would be cut. NOAA oversees this network and it helps fund the rescue of marine mammals around the country. The network was formed by the Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA) of 1972, legislation created to address a decline in marine mammals. You can see a list of the network members on the NOAA site, with contact information for reporting marine mammal strandings.
Reports of deceased and live stranded marine mammals such as seals and sea lions (pinnipeds) and whales, dolphins, and porpoises (cetaceans) are called in by members of the public, so the local organizations can rescue the living or document the deceased. The local rescue organizations also collect marine mammal data for research purposes. The network is supposed to cover every mile of coastline in the United States.
The funding arm of the Marine Mammal Stranding Network is called the The John H. Prescott Marine Mammal Rescue Assistance Grant Program. This is what their own web page says about the proposed budget, “The President’s FY13 budget request did not include funding for the John H. Prescott Grant Program in FY13. ” (Source: NOAA.gov)
The way the marine mammals rescue assistance grant program works is when funded, it gives grants to the local members of the marine mammal stranding network.
Currently there is a mass stranding of dolphins taking place on the beaches of Cape Cod. On February 6, the New York Times reported the International Fund for Animal Welfare, had spent about half their annual budget in just one month on working to help them. About 179 dolphins have been stranded, with 102 deaths.
Image Credit: Papa Lima Whiske