SILVER SPRING, Md. – Dan Ashe, President and CEO of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA), issued the following statement in recognition of the 45th anniversary of the Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA):
“AZA and its members are committed to the exceptional health and welfare of all marine mammals and actively support the Marine Mammal Protection Act, which enables us to work with the government to further protect marine mammals in the wild through field conservation, education, research, and rescue and rehabilitation initiatives. Over the 45 years since its enactment, the law has prevented several marine mammal species from becoming endangered and has given others a chance to recover.”
The MMPA, signed by President Richard Nixon in 1972, protects whales, dolphins, seals, sea lions, polar bears, manatees, walruses, and sea otters by mitigating the potential negative impact to these animals from shipping, fishing, mining and other human uses of the ocean.
Research at AZA-accredited facilities has been essential in understanding the anatomy and physiology of marine mammals, in treating sick and injured animals from the wild, and in learning to better manage and assist endangered species with protections under laws such as the MMPA.
AZA-accredited zoos and aquariums work to protect at-risk marine mammal populations, including harbor porpoises in the Atlantic and elephant seals on the West Coast. Through the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Marine Mammal Health and Stranding Response Program, AZA-accredited facilities have also rescued and released thousands of stranded marine mammals on beaches throughout the world.
Founded in 1924, the Association of Zoos and Aquariums is a nonprofit organization dedicated to the advancement of zoos and aquariums in the areas of conservation, animal welfare, education, science, and recreation. AZA is the accrediting body for the top zoos and aquariums in the United States and eight other countries. Look for the AZA accreditation logo whenever you visit a zoo or aquarium as your assurance that you are supporting a facility dedicated to providing excellent care for animals, a great experience for you, and a better future for all living things. The AZA is a leader in saving species and your link to helping animals all over the world. To learn more, visit www.aza.org.
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