Marine animals, like dolphins and seals, are poised to become the latest victims of several proposed budget cuts for 2013. Originally, more than three million dollars was allocated toward helping these marine creatures in the event that they were hurt or needed assistance. Now, that money may be used for other purposes.
A spokesperson from the International Fund for Animal Welfare commented on the situation, stating that if the changes take place, it will truly hurt their organization. Since they do not receive funding from very many sources, they count on the federal government to assist them in their initiatives. Losing the money would be extremely detrimental to their goals.
When a marine animal gets stuck on land, local organizations go out to see how they can help. Whenever possible, they attempt to save the mammal. If they can’t, they make note of the situation and collect data to help with research. Some members of the public have set up their own website for photography that actually documents this process, allowing everyone to see how it works. Dolphins, sea lions and whales are just a few of the sea life that are usually assisted, and help is provided throughout the United States.
The National Marine Mammal Stranding Network, which pays for this work to be done, would lose all their funding if this new budget goes through. The network was created in 1972 in response to a startling loss of marine life; to combat the deaths of the sea creatures, the Marine Mammal Protection Act was passed, seeking to protect them as much as possible.
The network actually receives their money from the John H. Prescott Marine Mammal Rescue Assistance Grant Program. In the past, when the government has allocated funding to them, they have taken that money and provided grants to different communities that are a part of the network. That grant program would receive no funding under the proposed budget, effectively rendering the Marine Mammal Stranding Network helpless and unable to complete the work that they have been pursuing with so much dedication for so many years.
Many people have heard about the situation that took place at Cape Cod this year; an incredible number of dolphins were stranding themselves on the beaches. While many died as a result, some were able to be saved. This is the type of work that the National Marine Mammal Stranding Network supports; if they lose their funding, many more marine lives will be lost.
Dolphin photo via Creative Commons