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Health assessment project on free ranging dolphins

In early 2015 Dolphinaris sponsored a conservation project without precedents in Mexico; a project like this has never been done before in which there’s a partnership between an academic institution like Universidad Autónoma del Carmen and a private company, like Dolphinaris.

The project took place in Laguna de Términos, Campeche; this unique ecosystem is one of the largest natural wetland reserves in Mexico. Several rivers meet the lagoon and they contribute to build one of the richest ecosystems in the world. The abundance of resources for all the food chain makes this place a unique coastal environment. The population of bottlenose dolphins in this area is considered to be one of the largest and most studied concentrations of dolphins in the country; this place is also a sanctuary for reproduction of the species.

Dolphins are considered sentinel species of oceans and human health among other charismatic marine mammals, like whales. The main objective of this project is to perform a health assessment of some individuals of the population by collecting biological samples from them. Many harmful elements that may have possible impacts on the ecosystems will remain permanently in their bodies, so by understanding this and knowing the health status of these individuals, we can indirectly assume the health status of the ecosystem. Working with dolphins in a wild environment must be done by experienced staff.

Safety protocols and procedures must be followed at all times in order to preserve their integrity and well being. Dolphins are fragile creatures that will need professional assistance and care during procedures.

The knowledge acquired by having our dolphins, maintained in human care, allow us veterinarians and trainers to acquire and develop right techniques for their correct handling and sample collection. This assures the well being of animals and staff at all times.

The development of medical and husbandry diagnostic tools and techniques in marine mammal medicine is one of the greatest contributions to conservation and the only way to develop such advances is by knowing and coexisting with individuals in human care. Dolphinaris has a real and strong commitment to conservation for the marine environments, its fauna and the community that coexist with them.