This project is using a science driven conservation approach to save a declining population of bottlenose dolphins that was directly impacted by the catastrophic winds and storm surge generated by hurricane Dorian.
Hurricane Dorian hit Abaco Island as the strongest hurricane to make landfall in the Atlantic, threatening a declining population of bottlenose dolphins in the Sea of Abaco. Since BMMROs research began 30 years ago, growth in tourism and related boat traffic has resulted in a noisy environment with fewer fish and dolphin deaths exceeding births. With predictions of more frequent and intense tropical cyclones, actions are needed to build the resilience of and save these charismatic top predators.
We can save this population of bottlenose dolphins from the impacts of climate change by decreasing other human caused stressors. Ninety percent of boats were destroyed by hurricane Dorian and as a result the Sea of Abaco is mostly silent, a more favorable environment for dolphins to carry out their life functions. BMMRO is using this anthropause to gather scientific data on where to create exclusion or slow down zones that will protect important habitat as boats and tourism return to Abaco.
This project will increase the resilience of the Sea of Abaco's bottlenose dolphins, which will contribute to population growth in the wider Abaco region. Establishing marine protected areas is one of the greatest defenses against climate change and will improve the overall ecosystem health. Public engagement during this project will increase awareness of the affects of climate change on wildlife conservation, promoting more sustainable living.
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