Questions, comments or suggestions? email me at:
Don't miss out a chance to win in our monthly "Croatianicity" t-shirt and fridge magnet draw!

petak, 21. kolovoza 2015.

Croatian Dolphin Preservation In The Adriatic: Stop The Ecological Disaster & Needless Deaths, It's Time To Save Them Now! (Please Pray For The Croatian Dolphins)

At a Bottlenose dolphin sanctuary near Zadar, Croatia, teams of biologists and volunteers are ensuring that native dolphin populations in the Adriatic remain at safe levels and are protected. Above is one of several bomb sniffing bottlenose dolphins in Dubrovnik in 2013, with their sonar capabilities they are able to find and mark unexploded mines left over from the blockade and attacks on Dubrovnik in the early 1990's. Image: CROPIX.

"The Bluenosed dolphin is experiencing a crisis of profound proportions, it's a loss of animal life, starvation, horrors and death on a scale not seen since the Kuwaiti oil fires."

This is just a brief introduction about the topic of dolphins in Croatian waters, particularly the bottlenose dolphins and also the dolphins of the Adriatic in general. The current situation of dolphins is tragic, amid all the various celebrities news, the newest dance craze rumours, sports scores and news and the never ending latest food fad news taking all the room on the front pages and newscasts, the dolphins are suffering and dying, I felt I immediately had to take a stand and speak up for them. Preserving dolphin populations in the Adriatic and especially along the Croatian coast  has never been as urgent and important as it is now. (I did a similar post before about the topic of Croatian Bear and Wolf population preservation projects, and was going to eventually cover this topic of dolphins, but after reading the news recently about the increasing real dangers and threats to them and their local habitats, I decided now was the perfect time). So this is not about any tourism or any sort of dolphin tours post whatsoever, rather it's strictly for and all about the lives, well being and protection of the dolphins. Even against the murdering of our dolphins in extreme cases.

In this modern age of designer clothes, microwaves, smart phones, nanotechnology and especially the internet, it is shocking that dolphin populations can still be in danger of extinction, (extinction), with their natural habitats being disturbed and threatened even as I'm writing this. At this moment we don't need to go buy new apps, shoes or get a new hairstyle, we do need to prevent a cetacean crisis that could turn into a horrifying future cetacean disaster, a possible catastrophe not seen since the animal victims of the Kuwaiti oil fires or the Iranian ecological crisis which led to the deaths of many thousands of muroidea and birds also. We need to immediately put a stop to any possible fomenting and escalating environmental disaster that will surely put the lives of the dolphins in danger...The dolphins need our help right now! If we don't do something now then our children's children may never get a chance to see, hear or ever know what a dolphin is, to see an actual living and breathing dolphin in nature. The dolphins are drowning right now even as I'm writing this. I feel so strongly about this subject that I think any Croatian Navy and Croatian Coast Guard ships and vessels that are not performing regular national defence and security anti-terrorist duties, should immediately be stationed around the perimeters of the dolphin protected areas and reserve mentioned below, preventing any further threats to their natural habitat and especially the newborn dolphins. It only makes sense, this is much more important to me personally than any ball chasing, ball kicking or ball throwing news going on all over the internet right now, even more important than browsing the various selfies. (You can immediately even adopt a dolphin, You can support the work of the volunteers and of the Croatian conservation organizations and marine biologists and help save dolphin lives by following instructions at and, They quite simply and urgently need your help now!). Because when a species becomes extinct, it means that they're extinct, extinct as in not around anymore to see, hear or anything. No dolphins to photograph, pet or feed anymore in their natural habitat. Dolphins should not be thrown away and forgotten like an old bag of cabbage. The dolphins have never raised a fin against anybody at anytime, never attacking any person, swimmer, kayaker, surfer or even any boat or vessel, on the contrary they have been shown to have saved the lives of many swimmers and divers. There is not a moment to lose, we simply can not and must not even take a chance of losing even one dolphin that could have been saved. Hence this post and the urgency in letting people know about these important dolphin saving endeavours and projects. (We even have the dolphin suites named after them).

I guess I have a soft spot for dolphins because when I was 11 and 12 years old I spent 2 whole summers mostly in and around Rijeka, and I was lucky enough to have seen some dolphins in person. Me and a cousin were out in one of those inflatable rubber dinghys one time, paddling and taking dips pretty far out from the shore, and a few of them showed up. It was pretty cool I must say, I remember also that I ate too many of those pašteta sandwiches and various sausages before heading out, I could have easily gotten stitches or cramps and drowned. (For all the boys and girs out there reading this, never go swimming on a full stomach because you could drown). The dolphin also spoke to me telepathically while we were out there. (but I can't tell you what was said, I wrote what the dolphin said on the back of a photograph that we took at the beach later that day). Some people the next day at the beach said that a shark was spotted around that exact same area beyond the nets after me and my cousin left to go home, a very rare occurrence but possible. Did perhaps the dolphin come there to protect me? or the dolphin told the shark to leave us alone and go elsewhere? Possibly. I can honestly say that from that time forward the Croatian dolphins (Hrvatski delfini) have been a part of my very soul. Dolphins also have a long history in some old Croatian legends and folk stories, along with mermaids, other water spirits etc. Also, in 2008 Croatia banned whales and dolphins from being held in captivity. Croatia simply saves dolphins.

A dolphin statue near Rovinj. Image:

On the island of Lošinj. Image:

Fortunately, thanks to the efforts of biologists and specialists and volunteers especially since 1995, today about 220 dolphins live in Croatian waters permanently all year round. However they still face threats from fisheries, increasing watercraft activities from tourists, accidentally getting caught in nets, and even occasionally direct killing by Adriatic fishermen for alleged food competition or by other careless individuals. GRD (Society for Dolphin Conservation, link at the bottom) founded the project to "Save the Last Adriatic Dolphins" and dolphin conservation together with veterinary faculty members of Zagreb University. The Croatian team members have been actively engaged in dolphin conservation for decades. Thanks to their efforts, dolphins have been under legal protection since 1995. But laws alone cannot prevent the extinction of the Adriatic dolphins. 50 per cent of the dead cetaceans found along Croatian coasts die from human impacts.

This bluenosed dolphin nicknamed Belugo, has been seen around Lošinj over the past two decades and he may be over 30 years old, this would make him in his 90's in dolphin years. Photo © Blue World.

Although Bottlenose dolphins can be found from the coasts of Japan to the territorial waters of Norway, Sweden, the North Atlantic, Baltic and even the Black sea, these Croatian dolphins are particularly important. Dolphins and whales have been under legal protection in the Adriatic Sea since 1995. The act strictly prohibits any form of harassment of these marine mammals or killing them. Yet, results of recent studies have shown that the Adriatic dolphins urgently need additional protection. The collection of data regarding the Adriatic dolphins allows the health of this population to be monitored, and thus the initiation of rescue measures in time.

The gruesome aftermath of a bottlenose dolphin that became entangled in a fishing net while searching for food. In scientific terms they die of asphyxiation, ie; drown. The WDC report, 'Shrouded by the Sea' reveals the shocking truth behind the entanglement of whales, porpoises and especially dolphins in fishing nets, marine experts estimate that more than 300,000 cetaceans are killed worldwide each year, that's more than 1000 every day. We must not allow trends like this to take place in Croatian waters which affects the whole Adriatic. (The dolphins are drowning right now even as you're reading this. I'm not going to add images of some of the dolphins who's lives came to a tragic end by propellers and speeding boats. The dolphins have suffered enough already).

Baby dolphins without their mothers would not learn feeding habits, starve and so not be able to keep up with their dolphin group, eventually doomed to a gruesome death eaten by predators. Do you want to be responsible for the mangled corpses of innocent baby dolphins? This is not about the rise in the price of stamps, your Miley Cyrus cd or mobile roaming rates, it's about dolphin lives. The dolphins are not imposing themselves into our lands, it is we who are the intruders and impose our presence on them. It would be a sin to forsake them in their hour of need, do you want to go to sleep at night knowing that you are a murderer? For Pete's sake why would you want to murder a dolphin? Photo © AFP/Getty Images.

The Lošin Dolphin Reserve was declared officially in operation on the 6th of August 2006, thus making it the biggest marine protected area in the entire Adriatic. Centering in the Lošinj and Cres archipelagto and totaling 526 square kilometers, the dolphin reserve helps dolphin populations from the Istrian peninsula to the Ionian sea. Above is a bottlenose dolphin found within the Lošinj Dolphin Reserve protective safe zone. 

"When a dolphin is saved from the thistles of a fisher's net, a new and glorious star is born and doth burn as a beacon for all eternity." - William Shakespeare, 1611.

"Since the times of the first Croatian Navy in the early middle ages, dolphins have saved the lives of countless Croatian sailors and fishermen lives, they also helped protect us from Muslim Saracen and Moors ships from docking to carry off women and children as sex slaves and dancers. No effort should be spared to repay them in kind and show our gratitude for their bravery, generosity and heroic deeds in keeping Croatian shores safe, clean and secure." President of Croatia - Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović.

Dolphins are the last marine mammals to have survived in the Adriatic Sea. There is only one dolphin species, the bottlenose dolphin (Tursiops truncatus) - which is a permanent resident year-round in the Adriatic Sea and Croatian waters. Other whale and dolphin species such as the striped dolphin stay only temporarily. We simply can't stand by doing nothing as this potential environmental disaster is threatening the very lives of and future of the dolphins. If your neighbour was lying on the road dying or couldn't eat or breathe, wouldn't you help them? The dolphins deserve no less. It's time to start thinking about the dolphins, because if you don't then who will? This text and information is for the benefit of the reader and is partly from the links at the bottom, there you can find much more facts and information.

Related post: bears-wolves-of-croatia-preservation

The Lošinj Dolphin Reserve - is the first especially protected area for dolphins in the Adriatic. It is located in the Kvarner Gulf, around the sheltered coast and waters of the eastern part of the Lošinj  and Cres archipelago. These waters are still relatively pristine and are home to a resident bottlenose dolphin population.

Dolphins seen near the town of Opatija. The Croatian efforts to preserve local dolphin populations also helps their existence and protection in the rest of the Adriatic. Without protected areas for native blue nosed dolphin populations, their study, tracking and initiating other protective measures, their natural habitat could be drastically affected and increase their chances for extinction.

There are still many threats, particularly the Cres-Lošinj area dolphin population. Pleasure boating can physically obstruct their movements while engine noise may disrupt their navigational senses. Although among the most resistant and adaptable cetacean, dolphins are gradually dying out in many parts of the world. Since 1995 Croatian law has protected all cetaceans in our waters from physical harm, harassment and threats to their future. Image:

 A group of Croatian biologists and volunteers are fighting to conserve a colony of bottlenose dolphins.
Croatian biologists fight to save endangered dolphins - AFP report from Blue World Institute on Vimeo.

Center for dolphins on the island of Molat near Zadar, Croatia.

Dolphins seen around the island of Krk, without current protective and preservation measures scenes like this may become a thing of the past.

This interesting footage is of "Bobi the Dolphin" who has become an annual dolphin celebrity over the last 4 years. "Bobi" is a bottlenose dolphin who has been spotted regularly at Novigrad near Zadar especially. He likes to approach the people swimming, jumping and even letting the children swimmers pet and ride him. He guards the children swimmers from any dangers. (If Bobi and the dolphins become extinct, who will protect the children?). We must prevent a cetacean crisis that could turn into a future cetacean disaster, a possible catastrophe not seen since the animal victims of the Kuwaiti oil fires. More information:

When you adopt a dolphin you will receive an Adoption pack that includes a personalized adoption certificate, photo of your chosen dolphin with informative text, a yearly issue of “Akvamarin”, attractive bookmarks and leaflets on BlueWorld projects. Depending on your wish you may choose any of the following Adoption packs that also include the following: full pdf at

Lošinj Marine Education Centre, Veli Lošinj



Run by the Blue World/Plavi Svijet Institute, the Marine Education Centre promotes conservation issues throughout the Croatian Adriatic, with particular reference to the bottlenose dolphin colony off the Lošinj coast. An attractive display introduces the world of the dolphin and the importance of protecting it. Visitors are shown a short film (with English subtitles), dioramas, and computer graphics. An 'acoustic room' demonstrates how dolphins communicate, and also how easily they can be disturbed by the rumble of boat engines. The MEC does not recommend dolphin trips (the whole point of the operation is to protect the dolphins as wild creatures, not disturb them or tame them), but it does have an important role in educating local boat captains how to respect dolphins when out on the water.

Visitors who want to get involved in dolphin conservation can become a godfather or godmother to a dolphin for one year (from 300kn). EU funding will enable the Centre to expand its activities and move to a much bigger, purpose-built visitors' centre in Mali Lošinj harbor some time after 2014. The MEC is also becoming more and more involved in the conservation of sea turtles, who inhabit the sandy shallows of the Kvarner Gulf.

Children at the Plavi Svijet (Blue World) Institute and Marine Education Centre learn about local dolphin preservation and how to protect them from extinction.

July 2013 will see the opening of a sea-turtle rescue centre on the Čikat peninsula, right between the Aurora and Vespera hotels. Here, sick turtles will be kept in tanks until they're healthy enough to be set free (previously, poorly turtles had to be sent all the way to Pula on the Istrian mainland).

A few days ago, an International Research Centre for Dolphins was opened on the island of Molat (in the Zadar waters).

Dr. Tomislav Gomerčić from the Biology Institute of the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Zagreb, initiated the establishment of the Centre in an effort to create a research station for scientists and field researchers, a base for working, holding presentations and lectures, as well as a place for visitors who want to find out about marine mammals which live in the Adriatic Sea. Croatia’s leading expert on dolphins, the 40 year old Tomislav Gomerčić, has this way created the conditions for implementing the project ‘Saving The Last Of The Adriatic Dolphins’.

What does the implementation of the project encompass and how many people are involved in the work of the Centre?

- The project is called ‘Saving the Last Adriatic Dolphins’ because we are working with marine mammals. Only 50 years ago, the Mediterranean monk seal and the short-beaked common dolphin (Delphinus delphis), which was the most common dolphin in the Croatian part of the Adriatic Sea, used to live in the Croatian seas. Nowadays, these two species of marine mammals no longer live in the Adriatic Sea. The only dolphin living permanently in Croatia today is the bottlenose dolphin (Tursiops truncatus). Five to ten people are involved in coordinating the work of the Centre, with significant engagement of veterinary medicine and biology students.

At a summer school where a lecture is given about dolphins, the aim is to prevent a repeat of the Iranian ecological crisis which led to the deaths of many thousands of muroidea.

We have two research boats at our disposal, facilitating field work. Sailors and seafarers can help by reporting dolphin sightings, which can then be entered in the CROdolphin internet database. Based on photo-identification, we can now differentiate over 250 dolphins. The database shows what the dolphins look like and where they were seen. That way we can follow the movements of the dolphins, how large an area they are using, which places they visit more frequently, which dolphins are together in a group…

What is the most common cause of dolphin deaths in the Adriatic Sea?

In fifty percent of the cases, dolphins in Croatia die from human activity, while the remainder die of natural causes. Between 15 to 20 animals die in Croatia per year. Since 1990 we have examined over 280 dolphin corpses; all skeletons and samples are stored at the Anatomy Institute at the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine. We are among the very few countries which have been implementing such research for so long. This research, carried out at the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine in Zagreb, enables us to learn a lot about dolphins.

In this manner, we have found out which types of dolphins enter the Croatian waters (bottlenose dolphin, striped dolphin, Risso’s dolphin, goose-beaked whale, finback whale) and how frequently they appear. We can find out the age structure of the population, the causes of death, diseases which appear in dolphins, anatomic and genetic characteristics of dolphins, as well as the contamination of the sea.

You have established the International Dolphin Research Centre on Molat, is there a special reason for choosing this island?

- The idea to establish the Centre was born ten years ago, but the bureaucracy made it impossible to find a facility we could have on concession, as well as the construction of a large centre on Ugljan, for which we had the funds. We ended up buying a small stone house with a tavern in its yard on Molat, which we renovated and created a smaller Centre, while in the tavern we created an exhibition site on dolphins. The best location for the Centre is on an island, to facilitate the best possible research work on the sea – said Dr. Gomerčić.

Croatian marine biologists, specialists and volunteers are working around the clock to make sure that dolphins remain safe in their natural habitat.

Plavi Svijet/Blue World Institute for Marine Research and Conservation on the island of Lošinj in the Kvarner Gulf.


Nema komentara :

Objavi komentar

Whether you agree, disagree or have a sure to check back because we will answer or reply to every comment...Mi govorimo Hrvatski također čovječe.

Featured post

And The Croatian City To Be A European Capital of Culture In 2020 Will Be...(Drum Roll).....Rijeka

Yep, I know it's still 2 years away and I already covered this topic last year when it was announced, but I added a few extra imag...