Featured Image Credit: Robert Pittman via National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
By Sarah Sharkey
The National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF) recently announced that it will be providing roughly $500,000 in grant support via its Killer Whale Research and Conservation Program (KWRCP). The funds announced will fund four grants that will be matching will grantee contributions totaling $619,000. The total amount of money being allocated towards conservation is 1.1 million. Some examples of 2016 grant recipients and their projects are titled below:
- Grant Recipient: Restore Americas Estuaries
Increase Killer Whale Prey Base by Creating Rearing Habitat for Salmon in the Upper Skagit River
- Grant Recipient: Vancouver Aquarium Marine Science Centre
Understand the Effects of Reduced Prey and High Contaminant Levels on Killer Whales
- Grant Recipient: University of Washington
Understand Nutrition and Toxin impacts on Pregnancy Health in Southern Resident Killer Whales
- Grant Recipient: National Marine Fisheries Service: Northwest Fisheries Science Center
Assess Persistent Organic Pollutant Transfer from Female Killer Whales to their Calves
The CEO of NFWF, Jeff Tandahl, worked closely with partners such as SeaWorld and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to make sure that the best effort is being made to understand killer whales; because understanding how a population functions is crucial for the successful management of the population. These magnificent oceanic mammals are key member of the ecosystem in the Pacific Northwest and unfortunately, researchers have become increasingly alarmed by the slow decline of the killer whale populations in the region. This decline has been largely attributed to decreased prey availability and pollution.
The grants awarded will definitely help scientists to better understand the problems facing killer whale populations and therefore be more equipped to help save these vital populations. So a round of applause to all parties involved in the development of these grants is definitely deserved because it will bring us to help killer whales in the long term!