Wild Dolphin Billboard Seeks to Raise Public Awareness of Marine Mammal Protections in SXM’s Waters

Local organizations Dolphin Defenders St. Maarten and the St. Maarten Nature Foundation, along with Humane Society International,  have sponsored a billboard on the AJC Brouwer Road on the island of St. Maarten in the Caribbean.

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This billboard, which promotes the freedom and beauty of wild dolphins, is intended to bring awareness to the public about the need to protect dolphins and all other marine mammals in St. Maarten’s waters and to keep them free.
“The idea surrounding this campaign in general and the billboard more specifically is that all marine mammals, including dolphins, belong in the ocean and not in a swimming pool or other confinements for human amusement,” said Mercedes de Windt, a Dolphin Defender representative.
The idea for the billboard follows a recent census on marine mammals conducted, in part, to educate tourists and residents about the varied species in St. Maarten’s waters. The St. Maarten Nature Foundation concluded its Marine Mammal Census project, which took place from February through June. The goal was to conduct a wide scale census of all marine mammals found in territorial waters, including within the Man of War Shoal Marine Park. Results included a determination of the most numerous species, migration routes and seasons, and the feasibility of regulated whale and dolphin watching trips.
“A total of 60 marine mammal species was recorded in our local waters, including several whales and dolphins.  The study indicates that there is an alternative to a captive dolphin facility on St. Maarten in the form of organized, well-managed whale and dolphin watching trips during the migratory season, which coincides with the tourist high season,” stated the Nature Foundation.
HSI provided funding for the billboard. “This is the kind of project we are most happy to support,” stated Naomi Rose, Ph.D., marine mammal scientist for The Humane Society of the United States, the parent affiliate of HSI. “This billboard celebrates the beauty and importance of dolphins in their natural habitat, where the focus of all true wildlife conservation and protection should be.”
Humane Society International and its partner organizations together constitute one of the world’s largest animal protection organizations — backed by 11 million people. For nearly 20 years, HSI has been fighting for the protection of all animals through advocacy, education, and hands-on programs. Celebrating animals and confronting cruelty worldwide — On the Web at hsi.org.
The mission of Dolphin Defenders St Maarten is to stop any plans for captive dolphins and other marine mammals on St. Maarten; to lobby for passage of a law in St. Maarten to prohibit the captive display of marine mammals in any type of facility; and to bring awareness to the island of St. Maarten in regards to the importance of protecting dolphins and other marine mammals from capture for public display, destructive fishing practices and environmental hazards in local St. Maarten waters and internationally.
The Foundation for the Management and Conservation of Nature on Sint Maarten (short: Nature Foundation St. Maarten) was established in January 1997 with the objective to enhance the environment through proper management, education awareness and protection. The Nature Foundation is a non-governmental/non-profit organisation consisting of three staff supported by an Executive Board. The Nature Foundation is the Management Authority for the Man of War Shoal Marine Park, St. Maarten’s first and only protected area and is also active on educational program to stimulate marine and environmental awareness in the schools.