Well this update is a little bit different because of things taking place in all of our lives. I spent the last week in quarantine because of an exposure to Covid-19. I and the other students are all healthy but as a precaution, our classes were suspended for this past week. So I thought I would use this update to tell you a little bit of the history from this area.
When I came here, I was surprised to hear about all of the history of marine mammals that happened in the Florida Keys and to hear how prominent DRC is in marine mammal research and how they work to share their knowledge with other places. The first marine mammal facility was in Augustine, Fl in the 1930’s. In 1946, Theater of the Sea opened its doors in Islamorada – that is the facility I visited a couple of weeks ago. Also, in the 1940’s Milton Santini started creating his facility to board dolphins which was known as Santini’s Porpoise Training School. An interesting fact was that He used dynamite to blasted areas for the lagoons – something that would be highly illegal now. After a couple of owner and name changes that same facility came to be known as Dolphin Research Center. I have since come to learn how active DRC is in sharing what they learn with organizations and other facilities. They are accredited by the Alliance of Marine Mammal parks and Aquariums and are recognized by the International Marine Animal Trainer’s Association. They have multiple published research studies (their newest one, I was fortunate enough to see in action) – if you are interested in what they have studied you can find samples on their website – https://dolphins.org/references_abstracts. They have also created a partnership with an aquarium in Japan and have had Japanese trainers come here to learn and they have sent trainers there. They are also one of the only Manatee rescue teams in the Florida Keys, they will go out when a troubled manatee is sighted and will they aid in sending that manatee to another facility for rehabilitation. I am learning that this can be quite a versatile facility.