Each year we are witnesses on the Cape to the sad spectacle of pilot whale and sea turtle stranding from cold shock as the ocean water cools and winter sets in. Unfortunately, many of these animals donít survive, and need to be euthanized, although several of the turtles have been rescued. The need for a facility in this region to care for and rehabilitate marine animals is critical.
Thatís where the NationalMarineLifeCenter comes in. Located in Buzzards Bay, this important organization has been raising funds and initiating a planned construction for a marine animal hospital that will meet the needs of several species that are harmed by natural and human-induced event.
For years Cape Cod has been known as a ďhotspotĒ for these strandings. Because of its unique geology and its coastline of marshes, creeks, and estuaries, many marine animals get trapped and are unable to free themselves. While many people are concerned about the welfare of different animal species, these marine organisms are often threatened or endangered, making their rescue all the more important.
The NMLC is in the process of constructing tanks and facilities that can receive large marine animals, bring them back to health, and quickly return them to the ocean. Millions of dollars are needed for this undertaking, and considerable progress has been made. I have had the pleasure and privilege of touring the NMLC with its Executive Director Kathy Zagzebski. Her optimism and enthusiasm is very impressive, and her dedication to the mission of protecting marine animals is inspirational.
We look out at the ocean and see the beautiful, blue waters stretching as far as the eyes can see. It looks pristine, free from the pollution and contamination so visible on land. But these looks are deceiving. The ocean is the recipient of all our wastes and chemicals as they flow from the rivers and groundwater to the sea. Plastics that last hundreds of years fill the ocean basins. The burning of fossil fuels has led to the global warming of the seas. And our insatiable appetites for fish and shellfish have depleted these resources. Itís no wonder that the larger animals of the sea are in so much trouble. So it is encouraging that organizations such as the NationalMarineLifeCenter and individuals such as Kathy Zagzebski are working to protect these animal resources. Please check out my links to their web site and help out in any way that you can.
Copyright Gil Newton 2009 Thanks to Chris Dumas for logo image.