There are three species of dolphin which are all classed as ‘critically endangered’: the Amazon, the Ganges and the Yangtze River dolphin. All of these species are dying out due to the constant presence and interference of humans in their natural habitats.
Education is generally considered to be the most important tool in the conservation of dolphins. The more people who understand the impact that they are having on the animal kingdom, the more people there will be who modify their behavior to protect their local wildlife. But education only works as a preventative measure; it only serves to reduce the amount of damage done to vital food sources and habitats in the future. In order to rectify the damage which has already been done, different measures must be taken by governments and dolphin conservation charities.
Dolphin conservation aims to reduce the number of species and individual dolphins affected by overfishing, hunting, pollution and capture. Charitable organizations working in dolphin conservation also aim to protect the environments in which dolphins live. This is done by campaigning for heavier sanctions for businesses and companies releasing harmful and toxic waste chemicals into the sea. They also campaign against overfishing in order to protect the only food source dolphins have to live off. Organizations and individuals working in dolphin conservation are often instrumental in drawing up petitions for governments to introduce maximum quotas for fishing and to make the fishing industry more sustainable.
Another way in which conservation charities can help protect dolphins is by protecting specific areas of the sea where they are known to live. In these areas, various activities such as motor boating, throwing waste over the side of a ship, fishing, dumping waste chemicals and trawling can be prohibited or controlled in order to create ‘safe havens’ in which dolphin populations can live and thrive. These protected areas are the equivalent of national parks on land, and are just as important when it comes to the protection and conservation of animal species.
Obviously, it is very difficult to protect the entire sea from such activities, and dolphins have to travel large distances in order to find all of the food that they need. It is not possible to protect the whole area that a dolphin will travel in its lifetime, but it is perfectly feasible to protect important places such as key feeding areas or prime breeding grounds.