Conservation of the Dolphin Population
In the U.S. and in many (but not all) countries around the world, dolphins and porpoises rank as supremely popular creatures: Their public image as smart, friendly, and playful marine acrobats has proven perennially endearing. That positive reputation notwithstanding, these remarkable animals—like all cetaceans—have suffered enormously at the hands of humankind. Our dolphin encounters Bahamas experience is partly about joyous communion with a beautiful animal, but it’s all in support of the preservation of wild populations.
From entanglement in fishing gear to pollution, the threats against dolphins are many and mighty. Dolphins have been eliminated or reduced in number across much of their historic range, and some species—particularly the little-known river dolphins of the tropics—are facing down extinction. (The baiji, native to China’s Yangtze River, may already be gone or effectively so due to massive alteration of its habitat; this would give this freshwater species the ignominious distinction of being the first cetacean to clearly go extinct due to human activity.)
Dolphins, like any other organisms, have a fundamental right to exist. No one creature is more worthy than another; every animal represents a spectacular evolutionary journey and the fulfillment of a specific ecological niche. Every extinction reverberates throughout an ecosystem, and, as formidable as our scientific prowess is, we can’t possibly predict and track every resulting change. That the loss of even a seemingly insignificant species can produce a real impact on our own is no flight of fancy: The science of ecology, still a young one, has highlighted how deeply interconnected we all are in the biosphere.
Beyond their intrinsic value, though, dolphins are absolutely worth protecting on multiple levels. There conservation is an essential and worthy cause—for the cetacean’s sake and our own. Keep them in mind the next time you enjoy our world-class dolphin experience !