Public Will Decide Who Wins Land Rover USA Service Award

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: steve.walker@nmmf.org

The National Marine Mammal Foundation (NMMF) announced today the non-profit organization is a finalist in Land Rover’s Defender Above & Beyond Service Awards, making the NMMF a contender to win a specially-outfitted Land Rover Defender. Winning the vehicle would allow the NMMF to better support its rescue of stranded and sick marine mammals, including dolphins and manatees.

“Rescuing and transporting marine mammals requires unique skills and equipment,” said NMMF Executive Director Dr. Cynthia Smith. “Our field team has the skill set, with extensive experience safely handling wild marine animals, but we lose valuable time when we have to borrow or rent a vehicle. Having a rugged vehicle like the Defender would be a game-changer for our ocean conservation work.”

To help the NMMF win the Land Rover Defender outfitted for their marine mammal rescue efforts, just click here. You can cast one vote per day through May 3.

“This specially-outfitted vehicle would accelerate our response time, expand our range, and help us access animals in hard-to-reach places,” said Dr. Lori Schwacke, NMMF’s Chief Scientist for Conservation Medicine. “Having a Defender would also enable us to get our scientists to schools here in Charleston and across the region to inspire future ocean conservationists. Community support is key, and every vote gets us one step closer.”

The NMMF’s Marine Mammal Rescue Team is based in Charleston, South Carolina. From Charleston, they deploy their field team to help rescue marine mammals in distress along the Eastern Seaboard and the Gulf Coast. The growing coastal population and human activity has increased the risk of dolphin entanglement or injury from discarded fishing gear or other marine debris. Extreme weather events can push animals up rivers and out of their natural habitats, which means they need to be rescued and relocated.

In late summer of 2020, Hurricane Laura made landfall on the Louisiana coast. Several dolphins were washed inland in its powerful storm surge. The dolphins were left landlocked in ponds and canals, cut off from their natural habitat. The NMMF quickly deployed a team to help rescue the dolphins and transport them safely back home. Public support is critical to the NMMF’s ability to respond to marine mammal emergencies.

The NMMF is recognized globally as a leader in marine mammal science, medicine, and conservation. With a mission to improve and protect life for marine mammals, humans, and the oceans, they answer critical questions about the health of marine mammals and coastal ecosystems. The NMMF is committed to rescuing and conserving at-risk, threatened, and endangered marine mammals in the US and beyond.

Photos and graphics available here and interviews available upon request.

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