The four pillars of DPMMR include Animal Care, Education and Outreach, Scientific Investigation, and Rescue and Rehabilitation. While all four pillars are critical to our Connect to Protect mission, one of the most important is Animal Care, which for us simply means providing the absolute best care and welfare for the dolphins that reside at our facility and depend on us.
This month’s Research Update highlights our book chapter Learning about Dolphins: An Era of Discovery in Managed Care, published in the Scientific Foundation of Zoos and Aquariums: Their Role in Conservation and Research. Zoos and aquariums have evolved from relatively rudimentary displays to reputable research and conservation organizations. Most modern zoological facilities conduct and facilitate basic and applied research, and many of these investigations cross disciplines, involve innovative technologies, and contribute to global conservation efforts. As the most abundant marine mammal species in managed care, bottlenose dolphins have been studied extensively, garnering groundbreaking discoveries that otherwise would have been impossible to ascertain in the wild. These include, but are not limited to, a compelling understanding of calf development, maternal care, social behavior, cognition, bioacoustics, sensory systems, diving physiology, toxicology, immunology, health, disease, and reproductive biology. In an era of global habitat degradation and increasing human pressure on ocean resources and ecosystems, research conducted at marine mammal facilities has become critical to our understanding of how these animals may respond to an ever-changing environment.
Alfonz – February is a month of love and Alfonz has been our very own Cupid this month! For the past few weeks, he has been very flirtatious with the other dolphins and has been showing off his best selection of creative behaviors to impress the ladies.
The simple answer is that there is an estimated 8 million metric tons of plastic in the ocean. To try to understand the enormous weight of this number, let’s compare it to other incredibly heavy items.
Although our focus is whales and dolphins, we will never say "no" to helping out with our other marine mammal friends in the Florida Keys: the Florida Manatee.