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Marine Mammal Conservation Efforts through Educational Briefings

December 06, 2022 / dolphins,

At Dolphins Plus Bayside, we know the value of conservation efforts when it comes to protecting bottlenose dolphins and other marine mammals. As a conservation-based organization, we are dedicated to educating the public on the value of marine mammals and how to protect them. We want to achieve the mission of protecting these important creatures, and helping the public see what they offer is a core method for doing that.

We do our part, through extensive research,  conservation and education programs. In addition to daily educational interactions with the general public, we offer internships in animal care and veterinary areas, along with independent research options, that help us disseminate knowledge. We are also active members of conservation groups, including the International Marine Animal Trainers Association (IMATA) and the Alliance of Marine Mammal Parks and Aquariums (AMMPA).

Why is the Educational Briefing Important?

Educational briefings are important to us at Dolphins Plus Bayside for several reasons. First, these briefings help us teach guests about the value of sustainable practices and the conservation of marine mammals. Most people will help animals if they understand the issues that affect them and know how they can help. The educational briefing is a way for us to provide guests with the tools to do just that.  Even small individual actions can help! 

Second, they generate awareness for issues involving the ocean and the environment. It's not just marine mammals that are at risk, it's their entire environment. The damage being done to the ocean is something that will be hard to come back from, and the longer it goes on the more difficult recovery becomes. Making changes now is important before the issue becomes worse.

Third, the educational briefing makes it easier for us to create a connection with bottlenose dolphins and other animals we love. We feel deeply for these animals and want to ensure that they have the best chance of survival. The more we can learn about them and share that knowledge with others, the more we feel connected to them and their marine relatives.

Lastly, the educational briefing helps us work toward our goal to inform the public and instill awareness in them, so they can understand the issues marine mammals are facing and get involved in conservation efforts.  Through education we hope to empower our guests to be better ocean stewards and share their knowledge to educate friends and family, adding to the help and support the animals receive.

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What is Included in the Educational Briefing?

In the educational briefing, we include information on marine mammals and how the choices we make as individuals as well as a society impact them and the environment. This is critically important knowledge that can help address the conservation of all marine mammals including bottlenose dolphins. The information in the education briefing includes:

The Impacts of Overfishing

Overfishing is a danger to marine mammals because it creates an imbalance in the food web which can affect all species especially apex predators like dolphins. If their habitats run out of fish the dolphins won't have enough food to eat. That can mean starvation of individuals, populations and entire stocks of marine mammals. Over time this could even lead to extinction.

How to Make Wise Seafood Choices

The kind of seafood you eat and where it comes from matters when supporting marine mammal conservation efforts. Nearly 85% of the world's fisheries are fished to capacity, or overfished. Dolphins Plus encourages guests to choose seafood that is harvested sustainably and caught in a safe matter with low impact on other species.  When you choose sustainably caught options, you're helping to protect marine mammals and their overall environment from the harm that can come through non-sustainable practices.

Recycling and Environmental/Ocean Issues

Recycling is very important, its a helpful tool to prevent debris like plastic bottles from ending up in the ocean. Marine Debris significantly impacts marine life and habitats. Animals are increasingly becoming malnourished and starving after consuming plastics, while others are unable to find food,  travel, or surface after becoming entangled in marine debris. Once this trash is in the ocean it remains in the ecosystem. There are several trash "barges" floating around the oceans.  One small step like recycling can help prevent debris from entering the ocean.

The Marine Mammal Protection Act

The Marine Mammal Protection Act was created in 1972 and is designed to keep marine mammals as a functional part of their current ecosystems. It helps marine mammals by encouraging their population growth and stopping practices that could lead to their extinction. The MMPA is extremely important because it helps keep the ecosystem balanced.

Threats to Marine Mammals

Debris, pollution, and habitat loss are among the biggest threats to marine mammals. These threats can impact their natural behavior interfering with communication, diving, migrating  breeding, and feeding as well as impact their physical well-being as evidence of pollution related illness, birth defects, and reduced ability to resist infections and diseases. Reducing these threats helps dolphins and other marine mammals thrive.

Coral Reef Ecology and Conservation

Coral reefs are a significant part of the marine ecosystem, supporting immense diversity of marine life. Our reefs are significantly impacted by some of the same toxins affecting marine mammals.  Chemicals we use on a daily basis such as household cleaners, pesticides and fertilizers, even our health and beauty products are affecting the coral reefs at an alarming rate. Simple changes such as switching to a reef safe sunscreen can help! These products don't harm the reefs the way the chemicals in other products can, allowing the reefs to grow and remain healthy for the thousands of marine species that call them home.

How Can You Help Protect Marine Mammals?

There are many simple things you can do to help protect marine mammals and be a part of ocean conservation efforts. Just a few small changes in your daily lives can help! 

  • Reduce, reuse, and recycle
  • Make educated seafood choices
  • Donate to local wildlife conservation efforts
  • Use environmentally friendly products

These small changes can add up to big support for bottlenose dolphins and other marine mammals. If enough people make these changes, marine mammals can make a comeback and their habitats can become healthy once again. That not only benefits the animals, but it also improves the oceans and the world for others, as well.

Want to learn more about dolphins and how you can help them? Check out the Dolphins Fact Guide: Everything You Need to Know and explore the habitat and habits of these amazing creatures. If you are interested in learning more about educational field trips at the natural seawater facility in the Florida Keys, click the above link.


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