Many independent organizations along the coast of the US rescue and collect data from stranded dolphins, whales and seals, helping the US government to fulfill their mandate to protect these animals.
The John H. Prescott Marine Mammal Rescue Assistance Grant Program was established to provide critical funding for marine mammal rescue and research. But this federal grant support for marine mammal stranding response has been cut by almost 73 percent since 2000.
The cuts in funding have resulted in a decline in capacity for the stranding network, which goes to extreme lengths to save animals in crisis. Funding cuts have also reduced our ability to collect important biological data about stranded animals. The data are used to monitor the health of our coastal oceans- critical habitat for commercial fish and shellfish species.
These same cuts can also endanger people's lives. Early warning signs of harmful algal blooms may go undetected. Also, when there are no trained, authorized responders, well-meaning members of the public often take matters into their own hands, putting themselves at risk for wounds and the transmission of zoonotic diseases.
Please urge your U.S. Senators and Representative to restore funding for the Prescott Grant Program, so that this vital rescue work can continue.
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