June 24, 2010
Posted: 10:33 AM ET
Watching the ongoing news coming out of the Gulf of Mexico is absolutely heartbreaking. So much damage has already been done, and we won’t even be able to uncover the extent of the damage done to the environment and to the animals and people living in the affected areas until long after the spill is stopped. The only heartening thing to come from this situation is seeing the many organizations already working to fix the problems. I’m proud to be part of one of these organizations—Morris Animal Foundation.
In times of disaster, people often focus on the immediate needs—which is critically important—but these events can also affect people and animals for a very long time. Morris Animal Foundation established the Betty White Wildlife Rapid Response Fund in March to help wildlife researchers respond to unexpected events, such as natural or manmade disasters and emerging diseases, that result in the immediate need for animal health research. We had no idea we would need to use the fund so soon, but I’m glad that it’s available to help animals in the gulf.
Currently, about 160 bottlenose dolphins, spanning five generations, live in Sarasota Bay, and the oil spill could have profound effects on their health, behavior and reproductive success if they are exposed to the oil and related chemicals spilled and the dispersants used to clean the site. The first grant we’re giving provides scientists with immediate funds to begin important research on the oil spill’s long-term effects on dolphins.
The ramifications of this spill will be both short and long term. I hope the information learned in this study will help monitor the long-term effects this kind of disasters has on animals.
Actress & comedian Betty White has always been a powerful advocate for the welfare of animals. You can see her on TV Land’s “Hot in Cleveland.”
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