Morris Animal Foundation Lends a 'Fin' and Funds Toward Helping Dolphins Living in the Gulf of Mexico

Betty White Wildlife Rapid Response Fund Addresses Urgent Wildlife Health Needs

Jun 03, 2010, 16:51 ET from Morris Animal Foundation

DENVER, June 3 /PRNewswire/ -- For times of wildlife health emergencies, Morris Animal Foundation (MAF) established the Betty White Wildlife Rapid Response Fund to give wildlife researchers timely monetary aid to respond to unexpected events, such as natural disasters and emerging diseases, that result in the immediate need for animal health research. The first grant provides researchers with immediate funds to begin important research on the long-term effects of the 2010 oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico on area dolphins.


Currently, about 160 bottlenose dolphins, spanning five generations, live in Sarasota Bay off the Gulf of Mexico. The Deepwater Horizon oil spill could have profound effects on their health, behavior and reproductive success if they are exposed to the oil and chemicals spilled and the dispersants used to clean the site. This study, led by Dr. Randall Wells of the Chicago Zoological Society's Dolphin Research and Conservation Institute, based at Mote Marine Laboratory in Sarasota, Fla., focuses on the resident Sarasota Bay dolphin community, for which long-term data are available, and dolphins living in the Gulf of Mexico within 10 kilometers offshore of the Sarasota Bay community.

"There is a long history of research on this population of dolphins," says Patricia Olson, DVM, PhD, president/CEO of MAF. "This project has a great chance of documenting the effects of severe and chronic oil pollution in this species and many more animals affected by pollution found in the ocean."

Learn more about this study and help MAF help dolphins live longer, healthier lives.

The Foundation is one of the only organizations in the world funding health-specific research for wild species. Since 1967, Foundation-funded research has advanced the health of our planet's wildlife—and, in some cases, has ensured the very survival of a species.

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SOURCE Morris Animal Foundation