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Wildlife Rapid Response Fund Addresses Urgent Wildlife Health Needs like Those Emerging from the Gulf Coast Oil Spill

Denver — In times of wildlife health emergencies, Morris Animal Foundation—and Betty White—are there to help. Morris Animal Foundation is currently working with wildlife scientists to determine needs for wildlife health research that will result from the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico and is prepared to grant money to research the long-term effects a disaster such as this could cause to native and endangered wildlife.

The Foundation established the Betty White Wildlife Rapid Response Fund in March to give wildlife researchers timely monetary aid to respond to unexpected events, such as natural disasters and emerging diseases, that result in the immediate need for animal health research. Betty White will match up to $25,000 of all donations made to the fund at

“The need is so great right now. There are some species that may not make it through this,” said White. “Morris Animal Foundation’s rapid response fund was set up just for these types of needs, and I am honored that the Foundation would dedicate this special fund in my name.”
Grants through the fund in amounts between $5,000 and $50,000 will enable wildlife researchers and veterinarians worldwide to respond quickly to disease outbreaks and other potentially devastating wildlife health issues.

“When starting this fund two months ago, we had no idea we would need to use it so quickly,” said Wayne A. Jensen, DVM, PhD, MBA, chief scientific officer of Morris Animal Foundation. “Although tragic, events such as these provide research opportunities to develop better methods to diagnose disease and treat affected animals. Through this fund, we hope to provide researchers with much needed funds to act quickly to address wildlife health needs in times of crisis.”

Betty White, a Morris Animal Foundation trustee for more than 40 years, has sponsored more than 30 animal health studies through Morris Animal Foundation, including numerous studies that looked at disease transmission in California sea otters. Those studies helped lead to increased legislative protection for endangered sea otters.

Donating to the Betty White Wildlife Rapid Response Fund provides individuals and corporations with an opportunity to support wildlife conservation efforts by ensuring that funds are available to provide a rapid response to unexpected wildlife health crises. To donate, visit

Keep up to date with what Morris Animal Foundation and Betty White are doing: visit Facebook at “Morris Animal Foundation” and Twitter at “Morris_Animal.”