Thanks to our generous Global Giving donors, the Central Puget Sound Marine Mammal Stranding Network was able to conduct our first necropsy of 2013 in early February. We had several carcasses stored in freezers, waiting for funds to pay our Marine Mammal veterinarian, Stephanie Norman, DVM, MS, PhD, to assist our volunteer team in conducting necropsies and collecting samples for future testing, to try to determine cause of death and to collect information on the health of our marine mammal populations and ocean waters.
We had collected a Harbor seal pup, a young Harbor porpoise calf, and a spiny dogfish for this necropsy session.
Unfortunately, the condition of these animals did not yield too many results and they were not optimum for testing samples, but they did provide us with some information, and most importantly, a training session for not only our staff and volunteers, but for a local veterinarian who has joined our team, and a forsenic pathologist from Seattle, who will be a helpful partner for future cases of marine mammals killed by gunshot or other means of human interaction.
Dr. Norman is a wonderful and patient teacher, and has trained many of our volunteers in how to take samples and assist with necropsy sessions, as well as numerous veterinarians, students, and teachers from our area.
The other exciting thing about this necropsy session was learning more about the shark family by taking a look inside the spiny dogfish we had collected. Sharks are not marine mammals, but there has been much research on the six gill shark through the Seattle Aquarium, and we are beginning to assist them in collecting samples from sharks that strand in our area. This session provided a great training opportunity so we can correctly collect samples to share and assist the Seattle Aquarium's research into this species.
We will soon be into our busiest time of the year for strandings, and extend our heartfelt gratitude to all our wonderful GlobalGiving donors! We hope you will continue to support this important program ~ without your support, we would not be able to respond to marine mammal strandings and investigate the health of our ocean ecosystems and marine mammal neighbors.
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