Our conservation medicine veterinary team strives to develop cutting edge techniques and diagnostics to better understand the health of wild marine mammals.

We leverage our work with animals under managed care to develop tools that are extremely valuable for conservation across the globe. Currently, our team is helping to understand the health and recovery of dolphin and whale populations following the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. Recent advances include the refinement of reproductive and cardiac ultrasound and other diagnostic techniques to better evaluate fetal, placental and cardiac health in dolphins living in the area affected by the spill. Application of these advanced tools in the field are helping us understand why wild dolphin pregnancies have failed in the aftermath of the oil spill disaster and whether or not these animals have sustained cardiac injury either from exposure to environmental contaminants or from stranding events.

We are also proud to be involved with killer whale conservation in the Pacific Northwest by developing a comprehensive Southern Resident killer whale health database through academic, nonprofit and government partnership. Additionally, following our work to save the vaquita porpoise in Mexico, NMMF veterinarians and scientists are planning to contribute to any future marine mammal ex-situ conservation efforts by applying their expertise to the devastating threats facing at-risk, threatened, and endangered marine mammals.

The veterinary team’s specialized skills in marine mammal medicine are also applied to better care for wild animals while they are temporarily in our care, either during a health assessment or a stranding or rescue event. This includes application of advanced marine mammal, transport, and emergency medicine techniques in the field and across the globe. Our team also strives to provide leadership in the field of conservation veterinary medicine through fellowship opportunities and training of other wildlife veterinarians and stranding response staff.

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