Cuts hit HPU marine mammal stranding program
HONOLULU (AP) — Hawaii Pacific University’s Marine Mammal Stranding Program may no longer be able to pick up as many dead whale and dolphin carcasses from the beach because of federal budget cuts.
The program lost $100,000 in federal grant funding, or two-thirds of its operating budget.
The university and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration are contributing some money to cover the shortfall.
But program director Kristi West is worried stranding responses may have to be scaled back.
The program has responded to 16 strandings of whales and dolphins in Hawaii, Guam and American Samoa so far this year.
When the animals beach themselves and die, West and student volunteers remove the carcasses and determine cause of death.
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