Dolphin Rescue Trailer Safety and Utility Upgrades
Founded in 1969, !FAW rescues and protects animals around the world. With projects in more than 40 countries, IFAW rescues individual animals, works to prevent cruelty to animals, and advocates for the protection of wildlife and habitats.
At IFAW we believe that a world where animals are respected and protected is a better world for both animals and people. Wildlife is part of our shared global heritage. We derive quantifiable benefits from the ways in which animals help maintain healthy ecosystems and support tourism. And we derive difficult to quantify but equally important social benefits from the joy that animals bring to our lives. A world without wildlife and wild places would be a bleaker place for us all. Building a global movement of people who share this belief and align their actions with their values is essential to sustaining long term protections for animals.
The IFAW Marine Mammal Rescue and Research team is seeking funding from the Pegasus Foundation to support upgrades to our Dolphin Rescue Trailer. The dolphin trailer is an integral tool for stranding response and has greatly contributed to our improved success rate. We now seek to increase safety and further enhance functionality of the trailer for both the responders and animals. Pegasus funding will allow for the purchase of trailer-specific aluminum cabinets and a countertop to contain currently unsecured response and diagnostic equipment. To better support the electrical draw needed to power diagnostic and research equipment, upgrades to the electrical system will be m~de.
IFAW pur.chased its Dolphin Rescue Trailer in 2006, and has since made gradual modifications to enhance its capabilities. As IFAW continues to advance stranding science, additional and improved response and diagnostic equipment are employed for field operations – making storage and organization a continual challenge.
Over the last ten years, the IFAW Marine Mammal Rescue and Research (MMRR) team has responded to an average of 500 to 700 reports of stranded marine mammals each year and around 200 cases require intervention or investigation. The mission of the MMRR team is to promote the conservation of marine mammal species and their habitat by improving response and humane care for stranded marine mammals, advancing stranding science, and increasing public awareness through education. MMRR is authorized by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Fisheries Service to operate as a marine mammal stranding network. Under this authorization, MMRR is also mandated to provide response, collect data, perform necropsies, and submit data to the national database.
Marine mammal stranding response is needed, indefinitely, in the Cape Cod region because it is a simple fact that cetaceans and pinnipeds will continue to strand. This natural, and sometimes human induced act, will continue for as long as marine mammals are present in the waters off our shores. In addition, Cape Cod is a global hotspot for mass strandings of cetaceans. This natural phenomenon must be addressed in terms of the welfare of individual animals, as well as the understanding of why these events occur. The science behind these responses can serve as a control for the suspected human-induced mass stranding events around the world. The data collected, analyzed, and shared by the MMRR program could have global implications for marine mammal conservation.
The IFAW Marine Mammal Rescue and Research team is seeking funding to further modify the dolphin trailer by installing Moduline trailer-specific, lightweight aluminum cabinets and a countertop on the front wall of the trailer. This installation will greatly increase safety for responders and animals when inside the trailer and maximize organization and trailer space, improving responder efficiency in the field. The cabinets and countertop will house cur~ently temporarily secured equipment that could become dangerous during a transport and will provide a more sanitary/cleanable surface, reducing inadvertent contamination and exposure to biohazards.
Moduline is a Massachusetts-based trailer cabinet company whose products have a lifetime warranty, are highly durable and lightweight, which is an important consideration to prevent exceeding the capacity of the trailer when fully loaded with an imals, gear and responders. In addition, Moduline’s craftsmansh ip features extra rigid integrated frames, double reinforced corners, precision hardware with no welds, double wall doors with inner-hat-bracing and full length hinges.
Unlike the wooden shelves and counter currently in the trailer, these products will not rot, rust, mold, or mildew, The QuikDraw technology of the cabinets will allow for drawers and doors to remain closed while in transport, keeping gear securely in place. The electrical upgrades proposed for the trailer are necessary to maintain response and diagnostic equipment during a stranding event, and to provide the necessary lighting for safe and effective operations in the trailer.
Project plan and timeline
In preparing for the modifications to the Dolphin Rescue Trailer, IFAW staff will bring the trailer to Moduline offices in Brockton, MA to discuss our needs and customization options with them. Once the appropriate cabinet and counter selections have been made, IFAW will schedule a date to take the trailer in for the installation.
This proposed work on the trailer would be projected to start in April 2015, as the trailer is needed by IFAW throughout the busy dolphin stranding season (December through April}. The electrical upgrades to the trailer will be made following the installation of the Moduline products, as wiring will likely be rerouted due to the cabinet installation. IFAW will work with Major’s RV Service Center, the vendor that has completed past electrical modifications to the trailer, to determine the electrical specifications necessary and perform the electrical upgrades to the trailer.