Shutdown makes it tough for groups to help endangered whales

PORTLAND, Maine (AP) — Rescuers who respond to distressed whales and other marine animals say the federal government shutdown is making it more difficult to do their work.

A network of rescue groups in the U.S. works with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to respond to marine mammals, including whales and seals, when the animals are in trouble. But the federal shutdown, which entered its 33rd day on Wednesday, includes a shuttering of the NOAA operations the rescuers rely upon.

The rescue groups rely on NOAA to track the animals and provide permits that allow groups to respond to emergencies. Some scientists say the shutdown is coming at a dangerous time for the endangered North Atlantic right whale. There are thought to be only 411 right whales alive right now.

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