You may not be aware, but in Montenegro, even the dolphins are called by their names, and recently everyone who wants to can adopt them, as long as they are left in their natural habitat. The adoption costs 20 euros a year, and this money goes to the support fund of the international project of marine mammals.
The first person to adopt is a German from Bar, a renowned environmentalist Michael Bader.
The dolphins in the Montenegrin Maritime zone have been monitored and studied for the third year in a row by the branch of the Turkish Maritime Mammal Species Research Association (DMAD), through which project “Montenegrin Dolphin Research” Bader got the certificate for the adoption of the dolphin King, which he has proudly framed and put up on the wall of his apartment.
A dedicated group of DMAD volunteers from all over the world, located in Bar settlement Ilino, monitors the dolphins from land and sea and, according to the scientific director from this NGO Dr. Ajlin Akajabas, they have already formed a significant database of dolphins, out of which seventeen are identified and named at the coast from Ulcinj to Kotor.
"What we are trying to figure out is what is happening in the marine eco-system of Montenegro, with the focus on the dolphins who are the top predators here, some sort of marine police, nature and sea protectors. By getting to know what's going on with the dolphins, we see what happens to the fish, which areas need to be protected, whether the sea is healthy or not. We get all this information by looking at the dolphins, and yet they are so lovely, and we enjoy being in their company," says Akajabas, who has a PhD in biology of the sea.
According to her, this DMAD project is registered and is now planning to be extended to its second phase. The team includes volunteers from Turkey, England, the Netherlands, Argentina, Germany, Canada, Australia, USA, who takes turns, and the core team has had the same composition for more than a year.
"We have an intensive program of work, non-stop, we follow the dolphins from a position on the land three times a week, and we follow them on a boat once a week. We use special optical equipment for viewing, monitoring and photographing them. Each of the dolphins we follow has its name, they are individuals to us," says Akajabas. Young scientists of the dolphins recognize and discern their backbone fins because, as she says, each has special markings. Based on this, they keep records of how many of them are staying in which place.
Boka Bay is, of course, their favorite place. "Now, in our registry there are 17 of them, and we are thrilled when we see them with the cubs, which is very important," says Akabajas. Melissa Basmaka, who is in charge of communication, points out that the adoption of dolphins is a unique model of support for such research, and also a very effective way of raising public awareness that these wonderful creatures live right next to us, in the sea.We saw them just the other day at the entrance of Bar marina. you need to understand how important they are for the sea," Basmak emphasized. Michael Bader is now the only one in Montenegro who has adopted a dolphin, and DMAD activists hopes others will follow his example.
"I am aware of these activists for a long time, because I am happy to participate in all activities related to the preservation of the environment. We went together twice on a boat to follow the dolphins, and when I saw that there was a possibility to support them, I immediately went into action and subscribed to five years. Particularly when I saw that one of them is named the King, there was no other way but to adopt him immediately," Bader said.
Montenegro is beautiful, Aylin and Melissa say, and for them as researchers a "real gold mine".
"Research in these areas was sporadic from time to time, and that is why we make the databases we want to share with Montenegrin governmental state institutions, to fill in obvious gaps in these areas, to use these data for the necessary protection of particular areas and species. What is good for Montenegro is the seriousness with which they approach these aspects in the Agency for the Protection of the Environment, they really want to follow the protocols to protect. Our job is to collect data and to hand them over. But we really need the Montenegrins in the team," Melisa said.
Text by Radomir Petric, on January 28th, 2019, read more at Vijesti