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Hawaii organizations win federal funding to study, rescue marine mammals

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration won a prestigious grant award that will allow it to continue funding the recovery and treatment of stranded marine animals in Hawaii, U.S. Sen. Mazie K. Hirono announced today.

This year’s John H. Prescott Marine Mammal Rescue Assistance grant, which the Trump administration has threatened to zero out in its 2018 budget proposal, was awarded to the University of Hawaii and The Marine Mammal Center.

UH will receive $100,000 to investigate causes of mortality in Pacific island marine mammals, while The Marine Mammal Center will receive $98,951 to support its Hawaiian Monk Seal Rehabilitation Program. The center runs Ke Kai Ola, a monk seal hospital in Kona.

“We were all captivated by the birth of Kaimana the monk seal on the shores of Waikiki this summer,” said Hirono. “But, marine mammals are threatened by climate change, development, and pollution. This funding will help two Hawaii organizations with a history in marine mammal protection to conduct research on marine mammal mortality and rehabilitate and release monk seals.”

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