Conservation of dolphins

Anthropogenic pollution, which has its origin in human activity, is a serious threat to cetaceans worldwide, and the Canary Islands are no exception.

Tursiops truncatus
Conservacion status: LC (Least Concern) in the IUCN Red List
Wild population: 600.000, stable.
Population in captivity: 256 en Europa

Objectives
To know the impact of persistent organic pollutants and heavy metals on the Bottlenose dolphin, a good starting point for promoting appropriate protective measures.

Strategies
To make comparisons of these anthropogenic pollutant levels between bottlenose dolphins and other species of cetaceans, as well as between different marine areas worldwide, in order to indirectly determine the health status of the marine environment surrounding the Canary Islands.
The first part of the research focuses on coastal and oceanic dolphin populations, and the second part analyzes the concentration of persistent organic pollutants and metals in the resident pilot whale populations.
The strategy envisages studying the possible association between toxic residues and pathology data, and evaluating the impact of biological variables that determine pollutant loading.

Actions
Assessment of the levels of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons and organochlorine contaminants in stranded bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops truncatus) around the Canary Islands.

Determination of the levels and profiles of POPs (organochlorine pesticides, PCBs, and PAHs) in free-ranging common bottlenose dolphins of the Canary Islands.

Determination of the levels of mercury and selenium in stranded bottlenose dolphins.

The research team has published four scientific papers in high ranked peer reviewed journals as result of this project.

Canary Islands, Spain and Macaronesia

Local Partner
University of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria
Cetacean Health Network of Macaronesia (SANICET)

Funds since 2006: 243,333 $