The Marine Education, Research & Rehabilitation Institute Inc. (MERR) will be conducting its Annual Dolphin Count on Saturday, July 21, from 9 to 11 a.m.
The count helps determine the Atlantic bottlenose dolphin population in the region, in addition to informing the public of the presence of the marine mammals in this area, said MERR Executive Director Suzanne. Usually, 300 to 400 dolphins are counted during the two-hour period, she added.
“We now have over 18 years of data, and the objective of the count is to help alert us to any changes in population numbers,” said Thurman. “If we were to notice a significant decline, for example, we would initiate plans for a more in-depth aerial survey.”
According to MERR, threats to Atlantic bottlenose dolphins include entrapment in fishing nets, hunting, whaling, habitation destruction, pollution and human disturbance.
MERR is requesting volunteers for the general census. Volunteers will be stationed at 37 observation points between Fenwick Island and Woodland Beach to collect data on the local dolphin population. Participants can work in half-hour shifts or for the entire two-hour period. In past years, the count has attracted more than 100 volunteers.
For more information or to volunteer, contact the MERR Institute at (302) 228-5029 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
By Ally Lanasa