|Continent||Central and Latin America|
|Date||20 Jan 2014|
Capacity building: Solinia will invite and train Peruvian biology/ecology students to join our team. Currently there isn't an experienced river dolphin specialist in Iquitos or even in Peru; we hope to generate future ones! Volunteer students joining our team will receive continual training, support, supervision and inspiration in all elements of the project and will become Peruvian river dolphin experts and give river dolphins a high positive public profile.
Communication: Our frequent monitoring field trips will raise the profile of river dolphins locally, and in doing so, offer them a level of protection. Simply demonstrating dolphin populations live close to the city is likely to support our lobbying efforts for local authorities to implement appropriate measures to protect them. Through our intensive programme of boat-based monitoring, we will establish factual information on threats, dolphin numbers, locations and habitat use; in time, Solinia will be able to make solid recommendations for conservation action to the local authorities, including identification of effective Protected Area designations to the local authorities and regional government.
Observation: Through our detailed recordings of river dolphin behavior we’ll build a library of photographs and an understanding of the important role they play in the ecosystem. Post field trip debriefings will give opportunities to explore the impact of the various threats including fisheries, boat traffic and pollution and how we should address them. Also development of a code of conduct for approaching and watching river dolphins will ensure disturbance is minimised, this is important for planned future follow-up work collaborating with and offering training and advice to local commercial dolphin-watch operators.
Education: Solinia will develop educational resources and visit schools in Iquitos. Our classes will be interactive for children, inspiring them about the amazing animals that share their homes and the importance of protecting their habitats. Our aim is to engender children’s knowledge and concern for the environment, a sense of how they can help, and motivate them to share this with their peers and families. As conservationists of the future, school children are an important target audience for increasing knowledge and awareness of the need to conserve river dolphins. We know that children are good at influencing and changing behavior patterns for the better of their parents and others in their communities with respect to the environment.
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