Volunteers and staff from the International Fund for Animal Welfare are working around the clock trying to save dolphins stranding on Cape Cod beaches. (Photo: IFAW/ M. Booth)
Federal money devoted to saving marine mammals was slashed from the president’s 2013 budget. Katie Moore of the International Fund for Animal Welfare’s Marine Mammal Rescue and Research team tells host Bruce Gellerman what that means for their mission.
GELLERMAN: Well, one of the items that President Obama cuts entirely out of his proposed budget is for rescuing marine mammals. This year, the program got about 4 million dollars.
About a quarter of a million dollars of it went to the International Fund for Animal Welfare on Cape Cod, which has been scrambling this past month to save dolphins stranded in record numbers. We caught up with the IFAW's Katie Moore between rescues.
MOORE: Oh, good grief. Um, we did find one additional animal today so I guess we're at 178 as our total. Ones that have come in dead is at 107, but we've saved at this point about 75 percent of the animals that have come in alive.
GELLERMAN: Well, President Obama's proposed budget, obviously, is not good news for marine mammal rescue. What does it mean for your organization?
MOORE: Wow. The cut to this grant program would be a huge hit for us. Most of the stranding networks in the country run as nonprofits and we rely on private donations and foundation grants and 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.
GELLERMAN: NOAA, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration?
MOORE: Exactly. They're the federal agency that permits us to do our work but it's also their mandate to investigate these strandings.
GELLERMAN: So how much did the International Fund for Animal Welfare get this year from the federal government?
MOORE: This year, we actually have three active grants for about 280,000 dollars.
GELLERMAN: So this has been such an unusual year in terms of stranding, is this enough for this year?
MOORE: (Sigh) You know, it's hard for me to answer that question. I know that one of the tests that we're looking to run from some of the blood samples that we've taken to look at potential viruses that might be affecting the animals would cost us about 18,000 dollars. Certainly these are things we did not originally budget for.
GELLERMAN: Well, Katie, thank you very much. Good luck.
MOORE: Thank you so much. I appreciate it.
GELLERMAN: Katie Moore is with the International Fund for Animal Welfare.
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