You probably have heard the sad story of a solitary common dolphin in NY that suffered for 9 hours in toxic Gowanus canal in NY without any rescue or any help. We have been criticizing Riverhead Foundation A LOT over past 2 years and in fact their handling of EH humpback whale stranding was the reason behind starting up StrandedNoMore (read more about EH Humpback here: link)
The situation with a solitary common dolphin caused a lot of uproar in social media, you can read about it here (link and link). But the complexity of this situation provides nearly perfect opportunity to discuss how messed up stranding field in the USA is. It is very important to discuss because sadly we all should expect more and more stranding as the entire East Coast will be soon open for Navy and Big Oil activities (link and link) that have been known for causing live strandings.
The Loss of Prescott Grant and Are the Rescues Really “Poor Clares”?
In case you do not know, but Federal Government has been supporting stranding rescues with 100 000 USD per year. But all good things come to end and the grant appears to go bye-bye. But even with the grant rescues success in the USA is laughable and nearly non-existent (especially if you do not count free dolphins and whales that were shipped to the Sea World). But we were afraid that rescues will be using the loss of this grant to further justify their inactivity and it appears it is already happening. Read the comment below and it is really funny actually because even with Prescott Grant many USA rescues barely attempted to do any “”rescue, rehab and re-lease”:
As everybody stood around, picked their nose and did nothing, one person actually reached out and tried to comfort a dolphin. This innocent gesture caused the uproar on Riverhead Foundation page (see below):
So this situation raises an important question. Rescues complain they have no money to respond and do anything. They also cite their safety and safety of their personnel. Fine. Why then NOT to move out of the way and let those who want to help to do something? Why a village in Vietnam can get together and rescue a whale with no grants or money (link), but in the USA the yellow tape is put in place, police is called and people trying to help are threatened with legal options. When did the stranding field in the USA become so twisted that rescue is now considered too stressful but death is just fine?? (The NOAA’s little release made us really scratch our heads, it is called “Rescuing the animals isn’t always the safest or the best option for the animal“ link). Read it again, what? Are they FOR REAL??
The Power of the Public
Here is the important thing and the public needs to realize it. It holds the key to turning around all this mess with strandings in the USA. Prescott Grant really looks like it is going away, so stranding teams will only rely on the public’s donations to stay afloat. YOU can decide who to support. If a rescue gives you 1000+ reasons why nothing can be done, perhaps it is a time to reconsider and start supporting someone who actually strives every time and treats every stranded whale and dolphin as an individual. And do not buy all this “Poor Clare” talk, even with the grant many rescues did next to NOTHING. We should also pressure NOAA to take into consideration what is going on around the world and instead of penalizing the public perhaps start thinking how the public can be used in rescues, because clearly now rescues will have no money and many will refuse to attend strandings. If a whale can be rescued by people in Vietnam (link) and a mass stranded pod can be rescued in Brazil (link), why on EARTH NOAA thinks it will not work in the USA??