How to Help the Dolphins from Threats in the Wild
Dolphins face a complicated host of anthropogenic threats. The fundamental reason cetaceans need our help—and a glaring issue of “bioethics”—is that we’re the prime reason their lot is so dire today. While dolphins may have sustained low levels of hunting pressure from humans in some regions for centuries, they became truly imperiled in the industrialized era as technological advances permitted us to ply and exploit the oceans to an unprecedented degree.
Beyond direct hunting for their flesh, the animals are infamously vulnerable as “bycatch”: Dolphins and porpoises commonly snare in fishing nets and lines, a mortality factor that has placed some species, such as the vaquita and the Maui’s dolphin, in direct danger of extinction. The Cetacean Bycatch Resource Center reports that more than 300,000 whales, dolphins, and porpoises may die annually from fouling in fishing gear.
Anthropogenic pollution also poses an insidious risk: Toxins like pesticides and heavy metals magnify up trophic levels (the energy tiers in a food web), and so top predators like dolphins can accumulate damaging, even lethal levels. The impacts of oil spills on cetaceans aren’t fully known, but may involve declines in dolphin prey or alteration of dolphin movement patterns.
Dolphins are inherently vulnerable to environmental degradation because of their biology. Like many large mammals, dolphins are relatively long-lived and reproduce slowly—they typically only have a single calf at a time after a protracted gestation period and rear it over several years. These fundamental traits constrain their recovery from population crashes compared with animals that breed more frequently and have more young at a time.
At the Blue Lagoon Island Dolphin Sanctuary and the UNEXSO Swim with the Dolphins are both programs helping to make sure that awareness and education is raised with the public population in order to help save these intelligent creatures. Both of our programs are passionate about our dolphins, and would hate the thought of anything happening to them, so that is why we are trying to get people around the world to be more conscious of their decisions and letting them know how they can help the dolphins. Just book a dolphin encounter in the Bahamas and see how intelligent these creatures and you will quickly side with us in taking action to protect them all over the world.