Andrea and Wilfried Steffen have been dedicating their free time to fight for better protection of the marine mammals living in the waters of the Caribbean island of Dominica for many years.
They reconstructed a sperm whale skeleton which became the main attraction of the Sperm Whale Research Center which they opened in the island’s capital Roseau in 2005.
Threatened Treasures of the Caribbean
Ever since part two of the "Pirates of the Caribbean" was shot on Dominica, this Caribbean island nation has gained worldwide fame. However, the "Caribbean treasures" of Dominica are not (only) hidden on the island, but in the waters surrounding it. They are (still) home to a variety of whales and dolphins including some of the most spectacular species of the world’s oceans: sperm whales.
The most recent research has shown that about 30 sperm whales live in theses waters, divided into five family units. There is a sixth group, which seems to be a so-called "bachelor school", i.e. a group of young sperm whale bulls which do not yet migrate.
Whale Watching for Kids
An important part of the project supported by GRD is "Whale Watching for Kids", a unique initiative on Dominica which allows local kids to go on a whale watching excursion including lessons about the biology and conservation of the marine mammals.
For many of them this is the first time in their lives that they can see "their" whales live.
The island’s population is thus integrated into whale and dolphin conservation, which creates the basis for a better protection of the cetaceans.
A live whale is worth much more than a dead whale, this is the idea we want to promote in Dominica.
We organize lectures at schools, perform excursions for school classes to the Research Center, hold presentations for politicians, hotel owners and the tourism branch in general, prepare and distribute brochures and flyers. Whale watching has become an increasingly important economic factor on the island in recent years, providing job opportunities for quite a number of Dominican citizens.
Objects and aims:
- establishment of a protected area for sperm whales and other cetaceans
- awareness raising activities for locals and tourists
- support of small-scale projects involving local people
- monitoring and research of the sperm whale population in Dominican waters