PORTLAND, Maine - 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 such as whales and seals when the animals are in trouble, such as when they are stranded or entangled in fishing gear.
But the federal shutdown, which is entering 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, which numbers about 411.