19 June 2010
Ionian Dolphins 4 (13-19 June)
I came here through Saiga travel organization in order to understand more about dolphins conservation, although I was already sensibilized in nature and environment protection. Thanks to Giovanni and Silvia's tremendous job and the help of Panni, I now have a better understanding on the cause and effects of dolphin population decline. The phenomenon, due mainly to overfishing, got me angry and I understand the difficulties that research centers and associations dedicated to protection are facing. The means they can deploy seem a 'drop in the ocean' compared to the huge and powerful leverage that the fishing multinationals can activate across the world, thanks to lobbying strenghs of the financial market network. (...) Nevertheless, hope must continue to animate scientists and volonteers so that things can change before it is too late. Human beings must realize they are accountable for their impacts on the environment. Thus, the actions and commitment of research institutes such as Tethys are key in order to -1 provide a reliable and inarguable record of dolphin population viability -2 sensibilize and leverage politicians and industrial stakeholders, using the same ‘weapons’ and trying to find common interests -3 keeping on actions and ‘evangelization’ towards the general public, particularly the youth. (...) An American Indian chief once said: ‘We do not inheritate the Earth from our parents, we borrow it to our children.’
Bear with me as I ramble on a bit. Some guy once said that there are two types of boys, those that want to be astronauts, who want to go to space and partake in potentially dangerous missions, and those who want to be astronomers who are content to just observe the stars from the safety of the ground. I tend to belong to the latter, so to me this week was a very good experience. I tend to do a lot of reading about subjects that interest me, but this project has managed to allow me to observe first hand what I read and I realise that these wild animals although feral and untamed are beautiful creatures worthy of our protection. I like to thank everyone who has made this project a success, and the other volunteers that I had a wonderful time with. Being able to see with my own eyes wild dolphins in their natural habitat was a life changing experience, cliched as it must sound. For it is only when we humans show an appreciation for our fellow living organisms can we be truly compassionate.
Zhao Yang (Graham), Singapore
Dear Silvia, Dear Giovanni, thank you a lot for giving people the opportunity to watch dolphins in wildlife. It was absolutely amazing to see them jumping around the boat, playing and enjoying their life. As well as i was so happy to see turtles nearly every day! When i booked this week, i thought you named your research station in Greece Galaxidi, like galaxy, to help people understand how wonderful life can be an that everyone should be careful with what we have. I wish you all the best with your work, as i know that researching and publishing needs a long long breath and lots of energy and i am sure one day it will convince the right people to be aware. Dear Panni, thank you for guiding us through the week, and do never loose your enthusiasm for this work.
The past week just seemed to have flew by just so quickly. I guess this is how time passes too quickly when you are having fun. I have really enjoyed myself over the past week. The experience that you can get here is just so different and exciting. Of course, seeing dolphins and quite a few turtles too, in their natural habitat diving, jumping, flipping is just amazing. Apart from that, thank you Giovanni and Silvia for showing and telling us more about their research and the problems that we face from overfishing etc. It has really been a great week. Really wish I could stay longer to enjoy the small town of Galaxidi and company of the other volunteers. Thank you Silvia, Giovanni, and Panni for taking great effort to make this a great experience for all the volunteers. I wish you all the best for your research and hopefully one day, the situation can be reversed for the good of the dolphins and everyone.