- Bottlenose dolphin
Dolphins are very popular animals – they are considered to be intelligent and friendly and they seem to play and smile all the time. There are almost 40 species of dolphins and watching them in their natural environment is an unforgettable experience. However, the future of these marine mammals is in danger. Amongst the many threats to dolphins are environmental pollution, noise pollution, habitat destruction and industrial fishing: many dolphins die as bycatch in fishing nets or cannot find enough food due to overfishing.
To protect dolphins from extinction, the United Nations have declared 2007 the Year of the Dolphin. With this campaign, the United Nations want to make people aware of the many threats dolphins face. Patron of the Year of the Dolphin is Prince Albert II of Monaco. He says, “The Year of the Dolphin gives me the opportunity to renew my firm commitment towards protecting marine biodiversity. With this strong initiative we can make a difference to save these fascinating marine mammals from the brink of extinction.”
Throughout the year, there will be lots of projects and initiatives. You will surely find information on the official pages or on the pages of some of the partners of the Year of the Dolphin, e.g. the WDCS or TUI. But also smaller organisations are committed to the protection of whales and dolphins, for example the Swiss foundation firmm. In Tarifa, Spain, firmm offers courses for everyone who wants to learn about dolphins and watch them in their natural environment. In Morocco, the foundation is building a Dolphin Resort where stranded marine mammals will be cared for and where captive dolphins from zoos and dolphin centres can spend their old age in a natural habitat.