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Requiem for a Dolphin – by Horst Liebl
Nature is not always red in tooth and claw. I witnessed a group of dolphins bear the body of their dead companion on its last journey and I was moved by the solemn majesty of the spectacle. We were busy installing marine lanterns at the sea off Futaisi Island. It was on a Friday morning and I was engrossed in the job at hand. Suddenly my friend Issa called for me from his boat some 50 meters away. "Horst", yelled Issa, "you must come and see what we’ve seen, come quickly,...
German dolphin defender and sailing legend Rollo Gebhard passed away
Rollo Gebhard, one of the great adventurers of our time and a pioneer in dolphin conservation, has left for his last journey. The founder and president of the German Society for the Conservation (GRD) of Dolphins died at the age of 92 at his home in Bad Wiessee, Bavaria/Germany. The oceans were his home for over 50 years. His love and passion for the oceans and their inhabitants made him a tireless defender of this “home”, committed to protect the marine environment from...
Harbor porpoises and sea birds victims of disastrous Green environmental politics
The German environmental NGOs Society for Dolphin Conservation (GRD) and NABU Schleswig-Holstein warn of massive losses of harbor porpoises and sea birds in gillnets set along the coasts of Schleswig-Holstein. The reason: The agreement made by the Green Party environment minister for Schleswig-Holstein, Robert Habeck, with the Schleswig-Holstein fisheries association and the fishermen's protection society last year encouraging fishermen to reduce set gillnets on a...
Now and then - History of harbor popoises in German rivers
Over many decades harbor porpoises had disappeared from large parts of the North Sea coasts and their estuaries due to the massive negative anthropogenic impacts around the mid-20 th century. However, things have changed in the past several years. Historical records show that harbor porpoises were quite common along our coasts about 100 years ago before they were decimated through hunting, overfishing, and by-catch, as well as river pollution and a decrease in fish...
Inauguration of our Dolphin Conservation Center in Croatia
Together with our Croatian partners from Zagreb University and the nature conservation organization VAL, we celebrated the inauguration of our dolphin conservation center on the northern Dalmatian island of Molat in early July. The 40 something guests included journalists as well as representatives of agencies and institutions in Zagreb, Zadar, and the island of Molat. The locals were also very much interested in this new facility on their island. "We are supporting this...
The Return of the Harbor Porpoises
For a few years now, the small marine mammals have regularly entered rivers in northern Germany in the months from early March through late May, as this year’s data collected by GRD shows again. Seemingly not shy at all at times, they can in particular be spotted in the Elbe river up to city of Hamburg and in the Weser river up to the city of Bremen during this period. Having been absent for almost 100 years, the smart hunters have returned to their former partial...
By force of arms
A bottlenose dolphin stood no chance when it came near an armed dolphin hater who downright riddled the dolphin with bullets. The porter of a hotel near the Istrian harbor of Porec aptly named "Dolphin" discovered the dead body off the Hotel’s beach. The necropsy yielded 7 pellets in the animal’s chest. The adult dolphin was a male of 3 m length and 227 kg of weight. He had slowly and painfully bled to death. The results of the examination suggest that the dolphin was...
Model for a marine protected area
In June 2012, a comprehensive 37-page report on the model for a marine protected area off La Gomera was published. It is based on 15 years of intensive whale and dolphin research and was also presente d to the Scientific Committee at the 64th Conference of the International Whaling Commission (IWC) in Panama. Moreover, the report was submitted to the Spanish authorities in charge in Madrid, to the environmental department of the government of the Canary Islands, and to...
Spectacular whale sighting
In late May 2013 a German yachtsman spotted 6 to 8 fin whales about 10 nautical miles north of Vis island. For over 11 years, GRD and its partners from Zagreb University have called on tourists and locals to report their sightings of whale and dolphins in the Croatian part of the Adriatic Sea. But never before did we get such a spectacular sighting: A German yachtsman spotted 6 to 8 fin whales: "I saw two groups of three to four whales. The distance between them was big...
Conservation measures are bearing fruit
Two resident groups of dolphins living off the Paracas peninsula in southern Peru have been steadily gaining popularity, enjoying particular protection thanks to 13 years of our project work. We are happy about the number of calves observed: the mothers can be seen raising their young without interference. Since 1999, GRD has been supporting the Peruvian marine conservation organization ACOREMA. Our good cooperation has led to the development of various measures to...
Dances with dolphins - The story of Dean and JoJo
On May 14, the American dolphin conservationist, Dean Bernal, presented his new book "JoJo und ich" (JoJo and I) in the Munich Sealife Center. The book (currently only available in German), is about the deep and exceptional bond between him and a bottlenose dolphin. In an interview Dean told GRD more about this extraordinary friendship and his mission. Hollywood has made him as many as 50 to 60 offers for his story about him and JoJo, says Dean. But unlike in the movies,...
EDEKA will switch from dolphin-deadly to dolphin-safe tuna
GRD welcomes EDEKA’s decision to switch from a dolphin-deadly to a dolphin-safe tuna source as an important step in dolphin conservation. GRD has been warning consumers for over one year not to buy this specific tuna sold in EDEKA stores (see at the right) which is caught by a method that allows for purse seiners to chase and net dolphins. According to official figures, about 1,200 dolphins are killed each year during the dolphin-associated purse seine sets to catch tuna....
Warning: Gran Bahia Principe Tulum Holiday Resort in Mexico
Six dolphins kept in tiny pool: Don’t book a vacation at the Gran Bahia Principe Tulum Holiday Resort! GRD advises tourists wishing to spend a holiday in Mexico against staying in the Gran Bahia Principe Tulum Holiday Resort at the Caribbean coast. Animal friends will be shocked: less than 20 m away from their natural habitat, six dolphins are kept in a tiny pool under horrific conditions on the Resort’s premises. For a fee, guests are invited to swim and play with the...
The tragic fate of our harbor porpoise populations
Gillnets and entangling nets are the main causes of deaths of our native harbor porpoises. It is estimated that in the Danish fisheries in the North Sea alone as many as 5,500 to 5,800 died a cruel death as by-catch each year between 1987 and 2001. However, many countries have not provided any current figures or the official statistics include only reported dead animals, while there are many strandings of harbor porpoises with clear net marks that go unreported. The...
GRD’s Spectacular Foundation in 1991
Dear Dolphin Friends, When I founded the Society for the Conservation of Dolphins (GRD) 20 years ago, I had just returned from my third world circumnavigation, bringing back shocking films and facts from Alaska about the dolphin massacres taking place in the tuna fisheries. I succeeded in mobilizing the public, causing a public outcry and forcing the tuna industry to cooperate. Since then, over 95 % of the German tuna importers have joined Earth Island Institute’s...
Reflective nets: A Solution to the bycatch problem?
300,000 marine mammals are dying in fishing nets worldwide each year. In the North and Baltic seas set gill nets pose a threat in particular to harbor porpoises. The development of dolphin-friendly nets could be a hope for the endangered animals. Sven Koschinski and Prof. Boris Culik, German marine zoologists from Kiel, made behavioral studies involving harbor porpoises at the Canadian west coast to find solutions to the bycatch problem. In the summer of 2003, they...

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