Cetacean Society International
Whales Alive! - Vol. XII No. 2 - April 2003
It's Your Money, so we'd like to know how you feel about the way CSI spends your support. It doesn't go for most of the usual costs of running an effective advocacy organization, like office space or staff. CSI's range of actions and programs include small grants to conservation-oriented scientific or educational projects, generally in developing nations. Here's a sample of the people and projects CSI supported with small grants in February:
Jaime Bolaños, marine biologist, former Venezuelan government official, and president of the Sociedad Ecológica Venezolana Vida Marina (SEA VIDA) for "A Preliminary Shore-Based Survey for Cetaceans in the State of Aragua, on the Central Coast of Venezuela; Implications for the development of a small-scale, community-based whale watching industry." SEA VIDA was founded in 2001, one of only two nongovernmental organizations devoted to research and conservation of marine mammals and their habitat in Venezuela.
Ann Catherine Lescrauwaet of Punta Arenas, Chile, for a study of the abundance of Peale's dolphin in the central Strait of Magellan. Given the species' significant conflict with fisheries, this conservation-oriented study is very important.
Anna Hall, of British Columbia, Canada, for a "Critical Habitat Evaluation and Signature Contaminant Sampling of Southern British Columbia's Harbour Porpoise." Her work will help promote the need to understand and manage human pollution on habitats critical to vulnerable populations.
Fagner Augusto de Magalhaes, of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, for monitoring marine mammal strandings and bycatch along the Rio de Janeiro State coast of Brazil. Fagner is part of a team led by Salvatore Siciliano that has a long-term project for shore-based surveys in Brazil.
Charlie Short, Victoria, Canada, for studying the "Ecological Connections Between Marine Protected Areas on the West Coast of Vancouver Island; Using Gray Whale Distributions and Habitat Requirements."
CEPEC is Making a Difference
Peru's Centro Peruano de Estudios Cetologicos, CEPEC, has been supported by CSI for many years. This grass roots effort began in 1985 to change the attitudes of Peruvian fishermen that were killing an unknown number of dolphins for human consumption, and to survey the markets to understand how many cetaceans were being killed. It was hard and dangerous work.
Thanks in part to CEPEC the killing is reduced and now illegal, but a black market continues. To educate the public to respect their marine life, provide a base for outreach programs, and house a growing collection of specimens, CEPEC created the Dolphin Museum in Pucusana, Peru. Visitors in 2002 increased dramatically over previous years, and were up 36 percent during January and February of 2003. Over 40 percent were Peruvian children, CEPEC's main education target group. With increasing publicity and tourism the numbers of visitors will continue to grow.
While the region's dolphin-catching fishermen privately consider the museum a threat, residents' comments are positive; they see the economic effect. The Museo de los Delfines is the only museum in Pucusana and an attraction in its own right. Visitors to Pucusana bring in more income than the artisanal fishery. Pucusana is tourist-dependent, and the museum fits right in with other attractions like the beaches, restaurants, guest houses and cafes. Attendance at the museum is free. Much of the work is voluntary and donated.
Photos courtesy CEPEC
A viewing platform called "Ocean-Live" will be finished early in 2003, allowing visitors a superb view of the marine life teeming offshore. A small colony of Humboldt penguins use a cavern about 100 meters from the platform, in sight practically any time of the day, year-round. Groups of coastal bottlenose dolphins typically pass twice a day and there are regular sightings of South American sea lions and sea otters. During August and September migrating humpback whales have been observed a few hundred meters from the platform. With binoculars, large feeding aggregations of long-snouted common dolphins and dusky dolphins can be spotted. Locally called "chanchadas", they are typically accompanied by tens of thousands of guano birds, or "pajaradas", all feeding on anchovy.
All this for an operating cost of just over US$3,000 in 2002! CSI congratulates Julio C. Reyes, Dr. Marie-Françoise Van Bressem, Dr. Koen Van Waerebeek, Diana Vega, Erika Del Campo-Meza, and many local volunteers for their impressive grass roots effort to positive and lasting changes.