12 November 2010

Betty White Wildlife Rapid Response Fund springs into action to assist saiga antelopes

Earlier this year the Morris Animal Foundation (MAF) established the Betty White Wildlife Rapid Response Fund to assist wildlife researchers with monetary aid in response to unexpected disasters such as the Gulf oil disaster.

Now the organization is focusing on helping the saiga antelope crisis in Kazakhstan after more than 12,000 of the animals were found dead—due to infectious disease—in the western portion of the country back in May. Funds from the Betty White Wildlife Rapid Response Fund will be used to support Fauna & Flora International’s (FFI) work with the Kazak State Committee for Forestry and Hunting to hopefully identify the causes of the disease and help prevent further death.

"Everyone knows how much I love dogs and cats, but wildlife species have a special place in my heart, too,” said Betty White, who serves as a trustee for the Morris Animal Foundation. “It is such an honor to contribute to a fund that can rapidly address wildlife health needs in times of crisis."

Once numbering in the millions, the beautiful creature's population has decreased by 95 percent in the last 20 years, dwindling to only 80,000 worldwide which is one of the fastest declines recorded in recent decades.

Julia is a student who has a passion for veganism, animal welfare, and religious studies.

Photo credit: cc: flickr.com/photos/shankbone