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Institute for Marine Mammal Studies Earns American Humane Certified™ Seal for the Treatment of its Animals

GULFPORT, MISSISSIPPI, October 13, 2020American Humane, the country’s first national humane organization and the world’s largest certifier of animal welfare practices, today announced the Institute for Marine Mammal Studies of Gulfport, Mississippi, earned its American Humane Certified™ seal, demonstrating the highest standard of animal care. The organization passed rigorous, expert third-party audits to join a growing number of leading zoological institutions that have earned the American Humane Certified™ designation. IMMS is the first facility in Mississippi to achieve this certification.

“We believe all animals, including those being cared for in our zoos, aquariums and conservation parks, are entitled to humane treatment,” said Dr. Robin Ganzert, American Humane president and CEO. “The Humane Certified™ seal assures zoo and aquarium visitors that their favorite animals are receiving the best possible care. Animals enrich our planet, and our lives, and humanity has a moral obligation to treat them with the respect they deserve. We commend the Institute for Marine Mammal Studies for this great achievement, paving the way for other zoological institutions in the Gulf Coast region.”

The Humane Certified™ program is the first certification effort solely devoted to helping verify the welfare and demonstrably humane treatment of animals living in zoos, aquariums and conservation centers across the globe. The program enforces rigorous, science-based and comprehensive criteria for animal welfare, developed by an independent Scientific Advisory Committee comprised of world-renowned leaders in the fields of animal science, animal behavior and animal ethics. The standards provide verification of good practices at deserving zoos and aquariums, and long-overdue assurances that the public can support them in good conscience.

“We provide a vital home for stranded marine mammals and sea turtles, including the most critically endangered sea turtle in the world,” said Dr. Moby Solangi, the President and Executive Director of the Institute for Marine Mammal Studies. “All of the animals that come to us for rehabilitation are looked after by our excellent vet staff, who are dedicated to their health and wellbeing. We are honored to receive the prestigious American Humane Certified™ seal, providing confidence that we meet the humane standards rightly demanded by the public.”

Established in 1984, IMMS is the premier stranding organization in the Mississippi-Louisiana-Alabama region of the Gulf Coast with the capability and expertise to care for sick and injured marine mammals and sea turtles. IMMS serves as an important educational outlet for the Mississippi Gulf Coast, incorporating programs for conservation, education and research of marine mammals and their environment. Their outreach program, Ocean Adventures, allows guests to interact with ambassador animals to create a personal connection to conservation attempts and stewardship. Research at IMMS covers a broad range of scientific disciplines including population dynamics, underwater acoustics, health, genetics, microbiology, endocrinology, behavior, biomagnetism and ecology. In addition, IMMS is actively involved in the rescue, rehabilitation, release and research of many stranded marine animals, including those affected by catastrophic events such as Hurricane Katrina and the BP oil spill.

The American Humane Certified™ program exhaustively verifies the many dimensions of animal welfare, with areas of evaluation including: excellent health and housing; positive social interactions within groups of animals, as well as between animals and handlers; safe and stimulating environments with concern for factors such as appropriate lighting, sound levels, air quality, and thermoregulation; and, evidence of thorough preparation and protocols established to prevent and manage medical or operational emergencies.

You can read more about the American Humane Certified™ program here: http://humaneconservation.org/.

About American Humane

Founded in 1877, American Humane is the country’s first national humane organization and the largest certifier of animal welfare in the world. For more information about American Humane, please visit www.AmericanHumane.org, and follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

About the Institute for Marine Mammal Studies

Founded in 1984, IMMS is a nonprofit 501 (c) (3) organization dedicated to education, conservation, and research on marine mammals and sea turtles in Mississippi, which is a critical habitat for both species. Ocean Adventures at IMMS provides a unique interactive experience for guests, which makes learning fun. You can read more about IMMS at www.imms.org and www.oceanadventures.us.

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