WHAT SR³ IS DOING NOW
Disentangling sea lions from marine debris and building capacity in Washington to disentangle whales.
Responding to stranded or injured marine wildlife in Washington.
Researching the health of Southern Resident killer whales and other cetaceans (dolphins, whales and porpoise)
Working with tribes and other local communities to support wildlife health and community involvement.
Helping to reduce human-wildlife conflict to promote healthy marine wildlife and healthy human communities.
WHAT SR³ IS DOING NEXT
Providing response and rehabilitation capacity for stranded or injured marine animals through the creation of a world-class hospital, rehabilitation center, and oil spill response facility for marine mammals, sea turtles, and sea birds.
Rehabilitating wildlife helps us monitor the overall health of marine ecosystems and wildlife populations. For example, harbor seals are the most abundant marine mammal in the Salish Sea and their population is an excellent indicator of overall marine health and can serve as a sentinel for human community health. Additionally, disease or human-driven health problems in harbor seal populations may signal upcoming risks for endangered resident killer whales or Guadalupe fur seals.
Building a leading research and teaching facility to provide an accessible, bio-secure laboratory for conducting marine science to tackle large-scale marine conservation and One Health issues.
Involving the community by providing a convening space and place for scientific and cultural gatherings that support and inspire conservation.
Why is SR³ needed in the Pacific Northwest?
Marine animal strandings in the Salish Sea, have increased by several fold since the year 2000 and continue to increase. Cetacean (porpoises, whales) strandings have increased from ~2 animals per year in the 1970’s to nearly 40 per year in 2012.
Rehabilitation capacity for marine mammals is very limited in the Pacific Northwest (PNW); there is no permitted facility capable of caring for, conducting health assessment on, evaluating, or rehabilitating endangered marine mammals or able to hold adult seals, sea lions, sea otters, or harbor porpoise.
Increased tanker and cargo ship transit along the PNW coast and Salish Sea pose increasing risk of an oil spill to at least 50 marine species of concern, including endangered resident orcas.
In the event of an oil spill, there is no facility in the PNW capable of holding, caring for and/or decontaminating marine mammals.
Marine mammals of the Salish Sea are known to be susceptible to pollution- and environmentally-induced medical conditions; thus, marine mammals can be important sentinels and early warning indicators of public health and environmental change.
A bio-secure marine laboratory is essential for understanding marine animal diseases. Coral diseases and Sea Star Wasting Disease are two examples of marine invertebrate diseases that are in dire need of a laboratory setting designed to facilitate evaluation of the cause and potential interventions to save these animals that are critical to ocean health.