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LEADING INSTITUTION IN CONSERVATION OF
FUNDEMAR, since its inception, has worked on the protection and conservation of marine mammals at the national level, especially humpback whales, being a key institution in the creation of the Bancos de la Plata and Navidad Marine Mammal Sanctuary and in the Twinning Agreement of Nuestro Sanctuary and The Stellwagen National Marine Sanctuary in the United States.
It all started in 2002 with an illegal capture of dolphins in the Parque Nacional del Este, currently Cotubanamá National Park. The mobilization of the Bayahibe community drew the attention of national and international organizations to protect the park's dolphin populations. From there, FUNDEMAR arrives in Bayahibe and starts a legal battle to free the captured dolphins. Unfortunately, the captured dolphins were not released, but the ban on future captures in the area was achieved.
Faced with this situation, it was necessary to study the dolphin population in the area since there was no data on the marine mammals in the park. In 2004, the first small-scale studies of the dolphin population in the area began. In 2007, the Hotel Association, within its tourism management project in the area, decided to invest in the study of the dolphin population and that is when FUNDEMAR began the first long-term study in the Dominican Republic of dolphins in the area from 2007 to 2009 .
In the study of marine mammals from 2007 to 2009, 150 individuals of bottlenose dolphin (Tursiops truncatus) and five different social groups were identified, three of them confirmed as residents of the area, and the functions of their social structure of these populations were analyzed. The presence of other species were also recorded such as: spotted dolphin (Stenella frontalis), manatee (Trichechus manatus), humpback whale (Megaptera novaeangliae), pilot whale (Globicephala), sperm whale (Physeter macrocephalus), dwarf sperm whale (Kogia sima), shark whale (Rhincodon typus) and killer whales (Orcinus orca).
FUNDEMAR trained and empowered excursion companies and local fishermen so they could aid in identifying species and individual dolphins to report their sightings. Today we continue to receive sighting reports and we have more than 640 reports in our database. This fuels the knowledge about marine mammals in the Cotubanamá National Park over time.
In 2018, FUNDEMAR, together with other allies, promoted the approval of Resolution No. 0020/2018 that prohibits the capture, import, export and commercialization of dolphin species throughout the national territory for a period of five (5) years. .
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