Conservation & Research
The International Whaling Commission
- The purpose of the IWC is to protect the future of whale stocks as a resource.
- Members of the IWC are requested to report direct and indirect catches of small cetaceans, including bottlenose dolphins, as part of the National Progress Reports on Cetacean Research. For the most part, however, these catches go largely unreported.
International Whaling Commission
IUCN/The World Conservation Union Species Survival Commission (SSC)
- IUCN/ The World Conservation Union Species Survival Commission Cetacean Specialist Group Action Plan contains several projects related to bottlenose dolphin conservation, including studies of accidental entanglements.
International Union for the Conservation
of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN)
The Convention On International Trade In Endangered Species Of Wild Fauna And Flora (CITES)
- Bottlenose dolphins are listed on CITES Appendix II. Appendix II includes species identified as threatened, or likely to become endangered if trade isn't regulated. All toothed whales are protected by CITES.
Convention on International Trade of Endangered
Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES)
The Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA)
- All marine mammals in and around U.S. waters are protected by the Marine Mammal Protection Act of 1972 (MMPA).
- According to the MMPA, it is illegal to harm, harass, touch, feed, restrain, and even to approach marine mammals in the wild. This is for their protection, and for ours.
- The MMPA is administered and enforced by the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), which regulates all activities that affect dolphins in the United States. NMFS programs support the domestic and international conservation and management of living marine resources.
U.S. Dolphin Protection Consumer Information Act (DPCIA)
- This Act, passed on 1990, legislated the "Dolphin Safe" designation for tuna not caught by setting fishing nets on dolphins.
- As a result, incidental dolphin deaths declined dramatically in U.S. waters—from 5,083 in 1990 to 0 in 1996.
- The United Nations adopted a similar resolution in 1991, which established a global moratorium and effectively reduced dolphin mortality in the Eastern Pacific Ocean.
- In the protected environment of marinelife parks, scientists can examine aspects of dolphin biology that are difficult or impossible to study in the wild.
At marine life parks, guests learn about dolphins and other marine
animals, their ecosystems, and conservation measures. Guests leave
with a heightened appreciation of the importance of conserving
marine animals and preserving their habitats.
- SeaWorld parks rescue, rehabilitate, and release bottlenose dolphins that have stranded along U.S. coasts.
- At marinelife parks, guests learn about dolphins and other marine animals, their ecosystems, and conservation measures.
- Guests leave with a heightened appreciation of the importance of conserving marine animals and preserving their habitats.
- A 2005 public opinion poll conducted by Harris Interactive® found the following:
- 97% of respondents agree that marine life parks, aquariums, and zoos play an important role in educating the public about marine mammals they might not otherwise have the chance to see.
- 96% agree that marine life parks, aquariums and zoos provide people with valuable information about the importance of oceans, waters, and the animals that live there.
- 93% agree that visiting a marine life park, aquarium, or zoo can inspire conservation action that can help marine mammals and their natural environment.
- 93% agree that people are more likely to be concerned about animals if they learn about them at marine life parks, aquariums, and zoos.
The SeaWorld & Busch Gardens Conservation Fund
- The non-profit SeaWorld & Busch Gardens Conservation Fund is committed to species research, habitat protection, animal rescue, and conservation education. The Fund was created to strengthen and expand the parks' existing conservation efforts while also providing guests an easy, direct way to make a difference for wildlife. To learn more about the Fund visit SWBG-ConservationFund.org. The Fund has granted thousands of dollars to various dolphin conservation projects around the world, including:
- Species research and conservation
- Texas A&M University received a grant to partially fund the assessment study of coastal dolphins in Tanzania, East Africa, to provide knowledge of the ecology and population biology of the dolphin species in the reserve, assess potential environmental implications, delineate appropriate mitigation measures, and lay down scientific bases for a broader long-term management plan.
- Habitat protection
- The Fund supported the Hubbs-SeaWorld Research Institute's long-range citizen-based project aimed at monitoring ocean noise and describing the noise in Florida's Indian River Lagoon. Public and scientific concern over the impact of anthropogenic sound in the marine environment and on marine animals, particularly marine mammals, has grown exponentially in recent years. The National Research Council made several key recommendations aimed at elucidating the effects of ocean noise on marine mammals. The lagoon is an extremely important habitat for bottlenose dolphins, Florida manatees, loggerhead and green sea turtles, and a host of marine bird species.
- Rescue, rehabilitation, and release
- The Wildlife in Need Foundation of Lompoc, California received a grant from the Fund to support the rescue, rehabilitation, and release of stranded whales and dolphins in the Phillipines.