A workshop on strategies to protect the Lahille's bottlenose dolphin will take place in Brazil from March 7 to 8, 2024. In expert talks and discussions between the biologists and scientists involved, the implementation of the 5-year rescue plan for the protection of this highly endangered dolphin species will be discussed. Dr. Lorenzo von Fersen (1st Chairman of YAQU PACHA) will also take part in this workshop online.
The conservation of biodiversity remains an urgent imperative for the health of our planet. With the increasing challenges posed by man-made problems, the conservation of each species is becoming a critical priority. The Lahille's bottlenose dolphin(Tursiops gephyreus), of which there are no more than 600 left, faces increasing threats from habitat destruction, pollution, bycatch and climate change, highlighting the urgent need for concerted conservation action.
In view of the endangered status of the Lahille's bottlenose dolphin, YAQU PACHA and Nuremberg Zoo, together with the Gephyreus Working Groupfrom Brazil, initiated a strategic action that was published just a few days ago. The aim of this collaboration was to define research priorities and coordinate conservation measures to ensure the survival of the species.
The comprehensive strategy, which follows the recommendations of the Integrated Conservation Planning for Cetaceans(ICPC), is the result of extensive consultation, review and expert input. Five strategic areas have been identified: (1) Scientific research and conservation, (2) Legislation and policy, (3) Communication, outreach and awareness, (4) Institutional strengthening and education, and (5) Citizen science.
After careful consideration, the researchers compiled a portfolio of projects that aligned with each strategic line, taking into account factors such as feasibility, impact and stakeholder involvement. Of the 26 significant projects, eight were ranked as high priority, reflecting the strategic focus on initiatives with the potential for significant conservation impact.
This 5-year strategic plan underscores the commitment to addressing the multiple challenges facing Lahille's bottlenose dolphins. By fostering international cooperation, increasing stakeholder engagement and prioritizing targeted actions, stakeholders remain firmly committed to protecting this critically endangered species.
"This document is the most important basis for a well-thought-out conservation strategy, and if we succeed in implementing the various projects, we can be sure that the Lahille's Bottlenose dolphin(Tursiops gephyreus) will have a future," said Dr. Lorenzo von Fersen, Chairman of YAQU PACHA and Curator of Research and Conservation at Nuremberg Zoo.
Veterinarians from around the world met in Valencia and then in the Canary Islands (Spain) for a training event on the health assessment, rescue and translocation of endangered river dolphins.
The workshop, organized by the National Marine Mammal Foundation(NMMF) in collaboration with the Oceanogràfic Valencia and the Univ. de Las Palmas, provided intensive training in health assessment techniques, including physical examination, biological sampling and diagnostic ultrasound in line with the One Health approach.
This particular workshop focused not only on assessing the health status of river dolphins, but also on collecting data that is important for species conservation during rescue and translocation operations. Experts working with YAQU PACHA in river dolphin conservation in Colombia and Brazil also participated in the event, which provided an unprecedented opportunity for global collaboration, mutual learning and capacity building.
This international collaboration is expected to foster new relationships and partnerships that are critical to the conservation of this endangered dolphin species.
Habitat destruction, overfishing, increasing health problems caused by pollutants and bycatch are jeopardizing the survival of the Lahille's dolphin, the most endangered dolphin species in the southwest Atlantic. The science section of the Uruguayan newspaper "la diaria" published an article about our work to protect the critically endangered Lahille's dolphin(Tursiops gephyreus). Our project to save the last 600 remaining animals covers the entire range of this dolphin species, from Brazil to Uruguay.
Read the article as PDF here...
There is hope for the endangered vaquita, as the latest counts for this year show an encouraging trend: For the first time, the population is no longer declining. More than a year ago, the Mexican government began placing concrete blocks with steel hooks in the vaquita's protected area in the Gulf of California. These measures have had a clear impact, with illegal fishing falling by 90 %. Fishermen now avoid this area for fear of losing their nets. Due to the success of this measure, the protected area is now being extended. The Mexican government is planning to sink a further 152 concrete blocks with steel hooks over the next few months.
We very much welcome this extremely promising development and are also actively working with Pesca ABC to develop and implement alternative fishing methods to ensure that vaquitas no longer end up as bycatch in the nets.
Climatic changes have led to extensive restructuring of the world's oceans. Marine organisms have responded to new conditions with different biological systems, including genomic adaptations. The increasing accessibility of next-generation DNA sequencing methods to study non-model species has recently made it possible to investigate genomic changes underlying environmental adaptations. This study used double-digest restriction site-associated DNA (ddRAD) sequencing data to investigate the genomic basis of ecotype formation in the currently recognized species and subspecies of bottlenose dolphins (genus Tursiops) in the Southern Hemisphere.
Genomic divergence at the subspecies level was confirmed between the inshore common bottlenose dolphin (T. truncatus truncatus) and the inshore Lahille's bottlenose dolphin(T. t. gephyreus) in the southwestern Atlantic Ocean (SWAO). Similarly, a divergence is suspected at the subspecies level between the coastal (eastern Australia) Indo-Pacific bottlenose dolphin(T. aduncus) and the proposed Burrunan bottlenose dolphin(T. australis) from southern Australia. Coastal bottlenose dolphins generally had lower genomic diversity than offshore lineages, a pattern that was particularly evident in T. t. gephyreus, which had exceptionally low diversity. Genomic regions associated with cardiovascular, musculoskeletal and energy production systems appear to have undergone repeated adaptive evolution in coastal lineages in the southern hemisphere. We hypothesize that comparable selective pressures in the nearshore environment have elicited similar adaptive responses in each lineage, supporting the parallel evolution of coastal bottlenose dolphins. As climate change alters marine ecosystems worldwide, it is critical to gain an understanding of the adaptive capacity of local species and populations.
Our study provides insights into key adaptive pathways that may be important for the long-term survival of cetaceans and other organisms in a changing marine environment.
Bycatch is the biggest threat to many dolphin species and populations worldwide. The La Plata dolphin or Franciscana - Toninha in particular is a species where bycatch is reaching unsustainable levels in some regions. To counteract this problem, we are actively involved alongside our partners and are working together on practical solutions.
A first promising approach is to attach empty PET bottles (filled with air) to fishing nets. These bottles produce a strong echo when the dolphins use their echolocation and approach the net.
The preliminary results of this approach are encouraging, although further testing is required to statistically confirm this positive trend. This simple and cost-effective solution to a serious problem could, if successful, represent an important step towards reducing bycatch. Furthermore, this method could also be applied in other regions of the world where there are similar challenges in dealing with other dolphin species.
Our partner GEMARS in Brazil has recognized that the success of such projects is only possible through close cooperation with the fishing community. Raising awareness among the local population of the urgency and effectiveness of such measures is therefore a central component of their work.
At a meeting with our partners in Brazil, Dr. Lorenzo von Fersen signed a cooperation agreement with GEMARS on behalf of YAQU PACHA for collaboration in the areas of education, science, technology and culture.
Close cooperation with local organizations in South America is crucial for the successful implementation of our projects.
We also held talks with fishermen who are involved in our joint activities to reduce dolphin bycatch. Here, objects in the fishing nets (empty plastic bottles) are currently being tested so that the nets are recognized and avoided by the dolphins. This is a cost-effective alternative to acoustic signals (pingers).
As an organization based in Germany, the President and Undersecretary of Justice and Institutional Integrity of the Secretariat of Justice, Citizenship and Human Rights(SJCDH), Rafael Gessinger, received Dr. Lorenzo von Fersen as a representative of the Nuremberg Zoo and YAQU PACHA for a discussion on joint cooperation.
The occasion was the activities to mark the 200th anniversary of German immigration to Brazil.
Dr. von Fersen has been working with YAQU PACHA and Brazilian institutions for over 25 years, conducting research into the protection of aquatic mammals. One of the species at the center of the binational cooperation is the La Plata dolphin - Franciscana - Toninha, an endangered dolphin species that only occurs in Brazil, Uruguay and Argentina.
The visit was divided into two parts. Dr. von Fersen was introduced to the management and conservation programs of the Sapucaia do Sul Zoo, which also includes native species such as the giant anteater, the maned wolf and the jaguar. On site, Dr. von Fersen was received by the biologist Eduardo Polanczyk da Silva and the head of the State Secretariat for Environment and Infrastructure(SEMA), Caroline Weissheimer Gomes.
Also on Wednesday, Gessinger and Professor Paulo Ott from the State University of Rio Grande do Sul(Uergs) received Fersen at the Fernando Ferrari Administrative Center(CAFF). On this occasion, the measures to celebrate the 200th anniversary of German immigration and the organization of future partnerships were presented. It is planned to draw attention to the work and projects of YAQU PACHA with various information events in Brazil.
The La Plata dolphin - Franciscana - Toninha(Pontoporia blainvillei) is one of the most endangered dolphin species in the world and YAQU PACHA, together with Prof. Eduardo Secchi, began researching this dolphin species 25 years ago and has since developed various conservation measures to preserve the population of the Franciscana - Toninha throughout its range from Brazil to Uruguay and Argentina.
Dr. Lorenzo von Fersen met with Prof. Eduardo Secchi from the Universidade Federal do Rio Grande(FURG) to discuss future strategies for the conservation of the species.
Join the race for Operation GRACE from November 6-30. YAQU PACHA supports this virtual race of the National Marine Mammal Foundation (NMMF) together with Dolphin Quest for the protection of endangered marine mammal species. We have a long-standing partnership.
The race is designed to inspire people and get them moving, and the kilometers they collect should motivate them to reach their goal. There is a virtual world map with various stations. When you reach different countries as a group, we draw attention to the endangered whales and dolphins in these areas. Participants receive virtual postcards with information about these animals. Our big goal is to virtually travel around the world and visit all these animals.
Once you have signed up and paid the registration fee, you and your team can take part in the RACE FOR GRACE and collect miles in different areas to reach your goal.
Then there are different levels of fundraising. The first level is Dolphin Defender - for anyone who wants to get involved in protecting and saving marine mammals. The fundraising goal starts at $50 and once the goal is reached, you will receive a medal next to your name on the leaderboard.
For more information and to register, visit the RACE FOR GRACE
The dry season is part of the ecological cycle in the Amazon, but due to the current historical drought, some of the shallow and even deeper areas of Lago Tefé in Brazil reached a temperature of 39°C. On September 3, Amazon River dolphins(Inia geoffrensis) and tucuxi(Sotalia fluviatilis) began to turn up dead in the Lago Tefé region. The peak was reached on September 28 with 70 dead animals. A total of 154 dead dolphins were found through September. At this point, the Mamirauá Institute contacted the YAQU PACHA organization, which immediately asked its partners for help and assembled a network of volunteers to complement the rescue efforts on the ground.
YAQU PACHA, in collaboration with Aiuká, NMMF and IFAW, immediately established a rescue team for the Amazon dolphins and tucuxi in Tefé.
Below is the report as PDF and an overview of the actions of these teams...
YAQU PACHA in partnership with Aiuká:
Rodolfo Silva, Waleska Gravena
International Fund for Animal Welfare(ifaw):
Sarah Sharp, Kira Kasper
National Marine Mammal Foundation(NMMF):
Forrest Gomez, Jammy Eichman, Eric Franks
For the conservation of biodiversity and the protection of whales and dolphins, the European Parliament invited to an expert meeting in Brussels.
Dr. Lorenzo von Fersen (1st chairman of YAQU PACHA) was invited to this event and reported about our projects to reduce bycatch of dolphin species like the highly endangered La Plata dolphin - Franciscana and our strategies to avoid bycatch. Here YAQU PACHA works closely with fishermen and fishing communities.
The event was initiated by MEP Gabriel Mato and Loro Parque Fundación in collaboration with IUCN Species Survival Commission and WAZA. In addition to researchers Javier Almunia Portolés, Boris Culik and Lorenzo von Fersen, the scientific director of our partner Planète Sauvage, Martin Böye, presented the collaboration between zoos and research and with fishermen. He reported on the strategies developed to counteract the bycatch of dolphins and whales in fishing nets. Professor Boris Culik presented the results of his work to protect dolphins using acoustic signals (pingers) to keep dolphins away from fishing nets.
We are very pleased that our organization is involved in such important projects of the European Parliament for the conservation of biodiversity.
On the initiative of ICMBio and Instituto Mamirauá, our joint rescue operation for the river dolphins in Lago Tefé in Brazil was launched. So far 154 dead dolphins have been counted and all indications are that the extremely high water temperatures of 39 degrees Celsius are the cause of the mass mortality of the river dolphins (Inia geoffrensis) and(Sotalia fluviatilis).
Rescue teams from our partners, consisting of veterinarians and biologists, are on site and monitor the condition of the dolphin population. Dolphins showing symptoms of illness can be taken to a specially prepared tank for treatment. The main task is to keep the dolphins away from areas with high water temperatures to ensure their survival. Fences made of wooden poles, nets and acoustic signals (pingers) are used for this purpose. The teams on site take turns and soon veterinarians and biologists from our partners in Spain, Portugal and Argentina will arrive at Lago Tefé to support the teams on site.
YAQU PACHA provides important financial resources for the rescue operation, participates in the coordination of the rescue forces and is in constant contact with our partners on the ground.
Significant financial resources are needed to carry out the rescue operation. You can support us in the rescue of the river dolphins in Lago Tefé with a donation...
Report from ICMBio and Instituto Mamirauá
The rescue operation for the river dolphins in Lago Tefé in Brazil is carried out in collaboration with the following organizations...
YAQU PACHA was represented with 2 information booths at the Species Protection Day last Sunday. The team around Sandra Honigs, Sebastian Schnock, Jolana and Mike Meister, with a booth at the Aquazoo Düsseldorf and Dr. Lorenzo von Fersen with an information booth and lectures at the zoo Nuremberg. The focus at the Aquazoo Düsseldorf was on river dolphins and our current rescue action for the river dolphins in Lago Tefé in Brazil. Many interested visitors came to the Aquazoo and interesting conversations ensued. The visitors were horrified about the extent of the dolphin death in Brazil.
In 3 lectures Dr. Lorenzo von Fersen informed the visitors of Nuremberg Zoo about our species conservation projects in Latin America. The main focus was on our work to preserve the population of the Franciscana Dolphin - Toninha(Pontoporia blainvillei) in the coastal waters from Brazil to Argentina and our efforts to protect the endangered Vaquita in the Gulf of California. Another important item, of course, was our current rescue effort for river dolphins in Lago Tefé in Brazil. Teams from our partners are on site and are currently trying to move the dolphins to somewhat cooler regions of the lake. Extremely high water temperatures around 39 degrees Celsius are the main cause for the mass death of the river dolphins.
A big thank you to all visitors of the Species Protection Day and for your interest in our work.
At the Week of Knowledge at the Federal University of Espírito Santo in Brazil, our partners from Ecologia Humana do Oceano informed children and interested visitors about dolphins and our projects.
There was also an area where our research was presented in a scientific exhibition. This was about the ethnobiology of the dolphin Sotalia guianensis in the state of Espírito Santo, Brazil. The project presented is a partnership between Ecologia Humana do Oceano and fishing communities.
YAQU PACHA has been supporting projects like this for several years. Working with fishermen and fishing communities is important to reduce dolphin bycatch.
A dramatic mass mortality of river dolphins is currently taking place in the central Brazilian Amazon. Dr. Miriam Marmontel, an experienced researcher at the Instituto de Desenvolvimento Sustentável Mamirauá, points out the seriousness of the situation: "We counted 130 dead dolphins in the last week alone." About 80% of them are the typical Amazon dolphins(Inia geoffrensis), and the remaining 20% are Tucuxi dolphins(Sotalia fluviatilis). In total, this represents about 10% of the known population in Lago Tefé. "Such a high percentage of losses in the Amazon dolphin is alarming. If these numbers escalate, we could be looking at a possible extinction of the species in Lago Tefé," warns Dr. Marmontel. She is leading the cause research in Brazil and taking important steps to protect the surviving animals, many of whom are in dire need.
But this cannot be done alone, but only in cooperation with others.
In this urgent matter, YAQU PACHA is working with our partners to support Dr. Marmontel and her team to save the remaining river dolphins and conduct a comprehensive scientific investigation into the causes of this tragic mass mortality. The alarmingly high mortality rate is currently attributed to rising water temperatures, which have reached an alarming 40 degrees Celsius in some areas.
YAQU PACHA, in collaboration with the National Marine Mammal Foundation (NMMF) and Nuremberg Zoo, has developed an emergency plan to support Dr. Marmontel and her team in their efforts to save the remaining river dolphins and to conduct a comprehensive scientific investigation into the causes of these tragic deaths. It is important to emphasize that this emergency plan is a collaborative effort supported by a variety of institutions, including YAQU PACHA, the National Marine Mammal Foundation (NMMF), Nuremberg Zoo, ZOOMARINE Portugal, L'Oceanografic Valencia, Planète Sauvage, LORO PARQUE Fundación, Verein der Tiergartenfreunde Nürnberg e.V., the European Association for Aquatic Mammals (EAAM), Fundación MUNDO MARINO Argentina, and Rancho Texas.
All of these organizations have joined together to support this vital rescue effort by jointly providing critical funding and sending qualified veterinarians from the U.S. and European zoos. Our joint efforts also include coordinating veterinary care in the field.
The survival of the remaining river dolphins(Inia geoffrensis and Sotalia fluviatilis) is acutely threatened and they urgently need our help to maintain the population in Lago Tefé.
We kindly ask you to support us in this important task with a donation. Your contribution will be crucial in saving the lives of these dolphins.
Account holder: YAQU PACHA e.V.
IBAN: DE91 7605 0101 0001 1416 38
Bank account: Sparkasse Nuremberg
Purpose: Donation rescue Tefe river dolphins
Dia da Toninha - Today is the International Day of the La Plata Dol phin - Franciscana - Toninha.
The Franciscana Dolphin(Pontoporia blainvillei) - Toninha (Brazil) and the Lahille's Bottlenose Dolphin(Tursiops gephyreus) are the most endangered dolphin species in South America.
Franciscana dolphins live in coastal waters from Brazil to Uruguay to Argentina, and YAQU PACHA has been working to protect this dolphin species from extinction since 1996.
Together with other partners, the Consorcio Franciscana was also created a few years ago to work more effectively with other partners to protect this endangered species.
Together with biologists and scientists from Brazil and Uruguay, we were also able, for example, to successfully carry out the first flight counts in 2023 to determine the population of the La Plata Dolphin - Delfín Franciscana(Pontoporia blainvillei) in Uruguay.
October 1 - Dia da Toninha - is the day to jointly raise awareness of the situation of these animals and YAQU PACHA will continue to work tirelessly for the protection and conservation of this endangered dolphin species.
Help us and support our species protection projects by donating with PayPal...
Yesterday, Dr. Lorenzo von Fersen (1st President of YAQU PACHA) was awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award of EAZA for his work and contributions to the conservation of endangered aquatic mammal species in Latin America.
Dr. von Fersen also presented at the meeting our projects for the conservation of the endangered Lahille's porpoise(Tursiops gephyreus)
We are very, very proud! Congratulations Lorenzo von Fersen!
Our partners from PROYECTO SOTALIA, led by Yurasi Briceño, and Fundación OMACHA, led by our colleague Fernando Trujillo, are currently on the Río Casiquiare in Venezuela to survey the Inia population(Inia geoffrensis) and determine their numbers from river transects. This is the first time that an expedition to study Inias has been conducted in this river. To date, nothing is known about the population size and distribution of Inias in this river system. The data are important to determine the threat status of inias in Venezuela and to develop appropriate measures to protect this dolphin species.
The Río Casiquiare connects the two great basins of South America, the Orinoco and the Amazon. This first expedition is a joint effort with Colombian colleagues in collaboration with government and academic institutions. Data will be collected on population size, as well as movement patterns and health status of Inia geoffrensis. The Río Casiquiare is one of the most pristine, species-rich, and least studied places in the Venezuelan Amazon, and any contribution to knowledge about this area is valuable.
Do you know Fafá and Juba, the baby whales?
Our partners from ECOLOGIA HUMANA DO OCEANO have developed a new children's book about humpback and right whales and published it as an eBook.
This book introduces in a playful way to children the way of life of the whales at the coast of Brazil by means of the two whale calves Fafá and Juba and offers child-oriented information about the species. Games and small puzzles are also included in the book.
You can download the book for free as a PDF on the ECOLOGIA HUMANA DO OCEANO website.
The children's book was created with the support of YAQU PACHA. Environmental education is an important part of all YAQU PACHA projects.
With bright sunshine YAQU PACHA was allowed to be a guest at the Duisburg Zoo on Saturday for the Species Protection Day. It was a great day with many nice conversations about the protection of aquatic mammals and many Euros went into the donation box. But also the stuffed animal assortment arrived as usual, until at the end of the day it was said... manatee and puffin sold out! But also penguins and dolphins found new friends. We would like to thank Duisburg Zoo for the organization and support and the helping hands of Silke Klein, Jolana and Mike Meister as well as our regular guest Barbara Mila. Thank you to Sandra Honigs for organizing the info booth for Species Protection Day 2023.
Our biologist Prof. Eduardo Secchi, together with other scientists, has published an article on the dietary habits of the South American fur seal(Arctocephalus australis) and the Subantarctic fur seal(Arctocephalus tropicalis). The study shows how the diets of these two species have changed over the years, with the animals partially switching their diet from fish to squid. This is likely due to the progressive overfishing of their prey fish by industrial fisheries. In addition, increased ingestion of marine debris, especially flexible plastic material, by the animals has been noted. The previous long-term study for this article was supported by YAQU PACHA. For YAQU PACHA, scientific findings are the most important basis for the elaboration of sustainable species protection measures.
For decades, news about the vaquita(Phocoena sinus) has become increasingly depressing as numbers declined year after year. Now there is new hope, as the latest estimate of the vaquita population in the upper Gulf of California in Mexico has revealed that the current population of the species is 10 to 13 individuals, including one or two calves. This means that no additional animals have been lost compared to previous surveys, perhaps the population has increased by a few individuals. It is important to note that these numbers are estimates.
The survey was conducted by the Cetacean Specialist Group of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) in the Gulf of California in May 2023 (https://iucn-csg.org/wp-content/uploads/2023/06/Vaquita-Survey-2023-Main-Report.pdf).
The vaquita population has declined to critical levels, mainly due to illegal fishing of shrimp and totoaba, another highly threatened species. It is important to point out that between 1997 and 2008, the vaquita population decreased from 567 to 245 individuals. Later, from 2008 to 2015, the rate of decline of the harbor porpoise increased from 8% to 45% per year. The last estimate in 2021 assumed that there would be only seven or eight adults and one or two calves.
To save the vaquita from extinction, fishing was banned in a so-called zero-tolerance area in the northern part of the Gulf of California, but illegal fishing still takes place there. In August 2022, the Mexican Navy deployed 193 concrete blocks in the area with three-meter-high metal hooks designed to snag nets. In addition, the Mexican Navy has worked with the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society and other organizations to closely monitor the fishery, resulting in a 90 percent reduction in fishing in the zero-tolerance zone, the study said.
"The concrete blocks, along with enforcement within the ZTA, appear to be an effective means of preventing gill netting," the IUCN report said. "Based on this year's results, expanding the concept of concrete blocks and hooks to other areas where vaquitas are known to forage is an urgent priority."
It is equally important to find solutions for fishermen who need to find a way to make money. The non-governmental organization Pesca Alternativa de Baja California (Pesca ABC) is dedicated to finding such solutions by developing alternative fishing techniques without gillnets and helping fishermen create markets for their vaquita-friendly fish products.
For the past seven years, YAQU PACHA and the Nuremberg Zoo have been supporting various NGOs such as Vaquita CPR, Pesca ABC and Museo de la Ballena, who work tirelessly to protect the vaquita. So it is a first ray of hope for all of us, the first in decades, which is ultimately due to the perseverance of the many people working to protect the vaquita. It would be wrong to say that the vaquita is saved, we are far from that. Rather, it is important to take this news as an opportunity to continue working to protect the species.
For more than 20 years, YAQU PACHA's activities have focused on the conservation of the endangered Lahille bottlenose dolphin(Tursiops gephyreus). To this end, YAQU PACHA works throughout the species' range from southern Brazil to Uruguay and Argentina. Below we present the latest activity report of the research group from Uruguay.
YAQU PACHA coffee in cooperation with Don Roberto coffee - Climate protection is species protection - Climate neutrally produced specialty coffee from Costa Rica.
We are pleased about the cooperation and support of Don Roberto coffee, which promotes species protection and supports our important work on the ground in Latin America.
YAQU PACHA has been carrying out species protection projects in Latin America for over 30 years, with the aim of protecting animal species with the involvement of the local population. YAQU PACHA's goal is to work with local people to find solutions for the protection of endangered species.
When you buy a pack , a donation of 2 EURO automatically goes to YAQU PACHA and thus directly benefits our species protection projects.
You can order online at...
Our partners from ECOLOGIA HUMANA DO OCEANO from the Federal University of Espírito Santo in Brazil have been collaborating in government programs of the Brazilian Government for several weeks. At a legislative assembly of the State of Espírito Santo, they presented our joint research with fishing communities and dolphins, such as the La Plata Dolphin - Franciscana - Toninha. The knowledge and collaboration with traditional fishermen is important to reduce dolphin bycatch. During the presentations, the results on the impact of marine debris on dolphins were also presented and discussed. We are happy that our joint work is now also noticed by the Brazilian government and has influence on laws for the protection of endangered dolphin species.
Our YAQU PACHA Annual General Meeting this year was held on Friday, May 26, 2023 from 6:30 to 8:30 pm at the Natural History House of the Nuremberg Zoo and also via Zoom Conference our biologists and society members attended the event.
Dr. Lorenzo von Fersen (1st chairman YAQU PACHA e.V.) led through the event. After a short introduction, first our biologists from Latin America reported about the work on their projects.
Prof. Eduardo Secchi began by presenting the projects that are being carried out with our partners from ECOMEGA FURG from the Federal University of Rio Grande FURG in Brazil. Special attention is given to the cooperation with fishing communities and schools in order to reduce the bycatch of marine mammals in the long term and to intensify the contact with fishermen. The project also aims to integrate the topic of nature and species conservation into school lessons in the long term. Prof. Secchi's team is also working on setting up a hormone physiology laboratory for the analysis of cortisol and other hormones from samples of the species living there. Dr. Silvina Botta participated in a training course at the world-renowned Toronto Zoo laboratory of Dr. Mastromonaco.
Dr. Lorenzo Rojas-Bracho then reported on the work to protect the endangered vaquita. He presented the work of PESCA ABC, which implements alternative fishing methods to prevent bycatch of vaquitas. Through the government of Mexico, heavy concrete blocks with metal hooks have also been sunk in the vaquitas' distribution area to prevent fishing in this area, as the nets would be destroyed by these metal hooks. Apparently this is already having a positive effect and fishermen seem to be avoiding these areas. In the last 3 weeks, Dr. Rojas-Bracho's team has again made expeditions to count vaquitas and there have been sightings of animals again, which makes us feel positive.
Then Dr. Federico Sucunza from our partners GEMARS and INSTITUTO AQUALIE presented his work in the protection of the La Plata Dolphin - Franciscana - Toninha and reported on the flight counts that were carried out for the first time in Uruguay in March and April. After evaluating the data, we can currently assume a population of about 30000 Franciscanas in Uruguay, where there is a very high mortality due to bycatch. To counteract this, we are working together to install acoustic signals, such as pingers. Dr. Federico Sucunza also reported on our collaboration with the PROJETO PESCA team to test and establish a simple and low-cost alternative to pingers. It turns out that empty plastic bottles mounted in the nets are perceived by the dolphins, so they avoid the nets. Initial tests were very successful.
Afterwards, our biologist Yurasi Briceño from our partners PROYECTO SOTALIA reported on her work in protecting the river dolphins Inia geoffensis and Sotalia and the manatees in Venezuela. Oil exploration in Lake Maracaibo and the extraction of gold using mercury pose a serious threat to the animals, and it turns out that the mercury accumulates so much in the fish that it also becomes a serious threat to humans through the food cycle. The work of the team around Yurasi Briceño covers many areas, such as regular population counts of the animals and an important area is also environmental education.
Dr. von Fersen then reported on the measures being taken specifically to protect the endangered Lahille's bottlenose dolphin(Tursiops truncatus gephyreus) in Brazil.
Another focus of YAQU PACHA's work is the so-called capacity building, the development of competencies and the training and further education of our employees.
YAQU PACHA was also instrumental in establishing the Alliance for Franciscana Dolphin, which develops conservation plans for the endangered La Plata Dolphin - Franciscana - Toninha(Pontoporia blainvillei) in various working groups.
The Latin American Journal for Aquatic Mammals LAJAM looked back on its 20th anniversary and YAQU PACHA has been a major sponsor of this important scientific journal since its inception.
Another important part of our work was the cooperation with the group ECOLOGIA HUMANA DO OCEANO, which is led by our biologist Camilah Antunes Zappes in Brazil and whose focus is the connection between humans and the environment. The group's main activities are environmental education in schools and kindergartens and communication with fishing communities.
Sandra Honigs (2nd chairwoman, YAQU PACHA e.V.) presented the work and activities of YAQU PACHA in Germany and Europe. At this point a big thank you to all volunteers, without whose help our events and activities would not be possible.
Finally, Dr. Lorenzo von Fersen presented the new YAQU PACHA for Diversity program, which uses the example of Lahille's bottlenose dolphin (current population 600 individuals) to show why it is so important to preserve and protect biodiversity.
The detailed minutes of the Annual General Meeting with all the activities of our organization will also be available here on our website shortly.
Bycatch in fishing nets is by far the biggest threat to many dolphin species. Although various methods have been developed and applied to reduce bycatch, there is still much debate about the effectiveness of these measures. Especially in the long run.
Against this background, a small meeting with scientists from Germany, France, Brazil and Argentina took place in the Nuremberg Zoo on the weekend of May 6 and 7, 2023. This meeting took place at the invitation of YAQU PACHA, which also covered the costs. The objective of this meeting was to analyze the methods currently used and to consider how and to what extent these methods can be applied to the bycatch problem in two regions. First, in France, where the focus is on industrial fisheries, but where other coastal fisheries with gillnets also cause high bycatch rates of small cetaceans.
The second project discussed at the meeting concerns the dolphin species most affected by bycatch in the South Atlantic: the franciscana. Under the leadership of Dr. Federico Sucunza, a pilot project is currently underway to test bycatch mitigation methods.
All participants agreed that both projects deserve expert attention and promised to work together to find solutions. In the case of Franciscana in particular, based on the weekend's discussions, work is now underway on a four-year project to test four different bycatch reduction methods in a bycatch hotspot.
Initial proposals to raise the necessary funds have already been prepared. Another larger follow-up meeting is planned.
Local ecological knowledge of fishermen from the southeast and south of Brazil about the Toninha - Franciscana dolphin(Pontoporia blainvillei).
The Ecologia Humana do Oceano research group, based at the Federal University of Espirito Santo in southeastern Brazil, conducted a study with traditional fishers in the southwest Atlantic Ocean about the Toninha - Franciscana dolphin(Pontoporia blainvillei). The research team conducted interviews in ten fishing communities in southeastern and southern Brazil.
Most fishermen fishing in the range of the Franciscana dolphin have not been able to identify this species. The fishermen who have identified the Toninha explain that this dolphin is accidentally caught as bycatch in gill nets. Usually the carcasses are thrown overboard, but the fat and muscle can be used as bait for shark fishing and human consumption. These fishermen are not aware of any solutions to reduce the incidental catch of Franciscana dolphins.
The extent to which fishermen can identify and provide data on toninha depends on direct encounters with the animals. Consequently, local knowledge is influenced by the presence of the species in the fishing grounds, the type of gear used, and the characteristics of the habitat (protected areas as opposed to the open sea). These conditions facilitate or impede observation and contact with the toninha, whose physical and behavioral characteristics already sufficiently limit their observation in the environment.
Fishermen's knowledge of the Toninha was compared between the regions studied and the researchers found that fishermen in the south of the country were more aware of the species than fishermen in southeastern Brazil. The results of this study suggest that actions to raise awareness of the species are needed in the fishing communities studied, especially in the southeast of the country, where the toninha is less known.
When conditions were favorable for identifying the species, fishermen were able to determine its characteristics and provide information on interactions with fisheries. Local ecological knowledge thus proves to be a useful tool for collecting data on Franciscana dolphin populations that overlap with fishing areas in the western South Atlantic.
Local Ecological Knowledge (LEK) has been shown to be invaluable for wildlife conservation, contributing to a holistic understanding of ecosystems, improving conservation planning and management, and promoting cultural preservation and empowerment of local communities. Integrating LEK with other scientific knowledge creates a more inclusive and effective approach to species conservation that ensures the long-term well-being of both wildlife and local communities. With this in mind, YAQU PACHA is increasing its involvement and participation in LEK projects.
Read also the publication as PDF: Local ecological knowledge of fishers from southern and southeastern Brazil about the franciscana dolphin Pontoporia blainvilleiStrategies for conservation
The study was funded by YAQU PACHA e.V..
The Franciscana Flight Count in Uruguay - a Challenge
The Franciscana(Pontoporia blainvillei) is a small dolphin native to the coastal waters of Brazil, Uruguay and Argentina. Franciscanas live mainly in coastal waters beyond the surf zone to a depth of 50 m, although they also occur in some bays and estuaries. The species is considered the most threatened dolphin species in South America, due to incidental killing in artisanal and industrial fisheries and increasing habitat destruction. The Franciscana is currently classified as "endangered" on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species, and Uruguay's National System of Protected Natural Areas(SNAP) considers it a priority species for conservation. Four Franciscana Management Areas (FMAs) have been proposed, of which FMA III in Rio Grande do Sul (southern Brazil) and the Uruguayan coast have the highest bycatch estimates. Historically, franciscana have been killed in relatively large numbers in Uruguay (nearly 4000 animals between 1974 and 1993) and more recently in both Uruguay and Brazil (annual mortality of about 1000-2000 animals). Estimating stock size in this region is therefore important to assess the potential impact of this high fishing-related mortality on the stock. To date, the stock size has only been estimated in the Brazilian portion of FMA III and no reliable estimates are available for Uruguayan waters.
From 01 March to 04 April 2023, aerial surveys, supported by YAQU PACHA, were conducted in Uruguayan waters to estimate the population of Franciscana dolphins and obtain records of the species' abundance. The search for Franciscana groups was conducted from a twin-engine Aerocommander 500B high-wing aircraft at an approximately constant altitude of 150 m (500 ft) and at a speed of 170-200 km/h (~90-110 knots).
Three survey regions were proposed: i) Uruguayan offshore waters (30-50 m) (UY-Offshore stratum), ii) Uruguayan coastal waters (0-30 m) (UY-Inshore stratum), and iii) Río de la Plata estuary in Uruguay (UY-Río de la Plata stratum). A total of 2629 km of transects were surveyed covering a total area of 49,483 km2 and a total of 53 franciscana groups were recorded with an average group size of 1.8 individuals. The total density was estimated at 0.606 individuals/km2 and the abundance for the whole area was 30,011 individuals (95% CI = 15,304 - 58,852). On the other hand, aerial surveys of the southern coast of Brazil (sector that is part of FMA III) covered a total area of 30,859 km2, and total density was estimated at 0.426 individuals/km2 and abundance at 13,137 individuals (95% CI = 7,037 - 24,526). Although the high abundance estimated for FMA III in this study may indicate a healthy status for this stock, the bycatch estimates for FMA III were the highest among all FMAs. This is the first study to conduct a full aerial survey of FMA III and obtain an estimate of abundance (43,148 individuals with 95% CI = 23,786 - 78,271) and density (0.537 individuals/km2) for the entire stock, as well as previously unknown density and abundance values for Uruguayan waters. Continued population monitoring through aerial surveys is critical to better understand the effects of bycatch and other sources of unrecorded mortality on the population dynamics of Franciscana dolphins living in Uruguayan waters.
Brazilian research team: Federico Sucunza, Daniel Danilewicz, Emanuel Ferreira, Martin S. Perez, Alexandre N. Zerbini.
On a journey of discovery to the supported projects in Brazil.
For almost five years I have been working as an animal keeper with the dolphins of Planète Sauvage, a zoo that has supported YAQU PACHA for many years. My work consists in taking care of the animals' welfare on a daily basis, but also in participating in research and science and in raising awareness among as many people as possible about the protection of these species in their habitat,
I communicate daily with visitors and explain to them the importance of in-situ and ex-situ conservation work. As the problems caused by human activities in the sea are increasing, it is becoming more and more important every day to find new solutions to protect species, help wildlife and conserve them.
But what about the projects we support on the ground every day?
This was a question I had been asking myself for some time. I wanted to see with my own eyes how the projects are implemented on the ground and where the money goes.
So I got the chance to travel to the south of Brazil, to Rio Grande, for a month to see what YAQU PACHA's projects are all about. I participated in an internship to get to know the different species conservation projects of YAQU PACHA and the daily work. The whole thing in collaboration with the Federal University of Rio Grande FURG.
My stay began at CRAM FURG (Center for the Care of Marine Animals), where I was able to participate in the following activities.
Care of the animals in the center (turtles, penguins, birds, sea lions), monitoring on the beach, recording of the different species of sea birds, pollution, strandings and anthropogenic waste, releases, necropsies, hematological / parasitological analysis or more about certain veterinary treatments such as ozone therapy or laser therapy.
In a second phase, I was placed in the Laboratory of Ecology and Conservation of Marine Fauna ECOMEGA FURG. There I was able to get to know the different studies and conservation projects, such as the Toninhas Project for the Fransiscana dolphin or the Boto Project for the Lahille's porpoise.
I was allowed to accompany the Boto Project team on their regular trips to the sea to monitor the population with photo-identification and DNA samples.
Beach observations are also conducted twice a month, during which stranded animals are counted and various samples (teeth, organs, skin, skull) are taken from dead animals for analysis and examination in the laboratory.
For example, I learned that a single dolphin tooth can be used to study a whole range of biological parameters.
After several working steps, we make thin tooth slices, which allow us to determine the age of the animal. By taking material (dentin) we can also examine the isotopes present, which give us information about the diet, possible migrations or even the characteristics of the animal's habitat throughout its life.
It is therefore one of the daily tasks of ECOMEGA, to study these species, their life expectancy, their distribution, the use of their habitat, the size of their populations or even their habits and diet. If we know them better, we will be able to underpin the importance of measures to combat the problems caused by human activities in the sea and improve the protection measures already in place (protected areas where fishing is prohibited, pingers in fishing nets).
I have returned from this volunteering with all the answers to my questions, with all the keys in my hand to share and pass on the new knowledge I have acquired in the field with my colleagues and the visitors to the park. It was a very enriching experience, both personally and professionally.
Thank you to everyone I had the pleasure of meeting during this stay and thank you for your work. Thanks to the Team from YAQU PACHA for the trust placed in me.
"You protect what you love, and you love what you know." J. Cousteau
Today we are pleased to present the new book Whales and Dolphins by our friend Ralf Kiefner.
Whales and dolphins are the most popular marine mammals and hardly anyone knows their fascinating world better than the diver, author and photographer Ralf Kiefner. In his book he now presents - scientifically sound and easy to understand - all 93 species with photos and drawings as well as detailed descriptions. The portraits provide information on behavior, food and reproduction as well as on distribution areas and hot spots for whale watching. Information on historical, cultural and mythological contexts and on the endangerment of the species round off this comprehensive nature guide.
Ralf Kiefner has been diving for 50 years. For more than 30 years he has worked successfully as an author, wildlife and underwater photographer, cameraman and producer for TV productions. Magazines and TV stations worldwide have published his work. His shark documentary "Beyond Fear" was groundbreaking, his book "Whales and Dolphins, Worldwide" is considered a standard work.
Whales and dolphins - Ralf Kiefner - ISBN: 978-3-440-16339-9
Franckh-Kosmos Verlag 336 pages, 247 color photos, 229 color illustrations
D: 42 EURO (A: 43,20 EURO, CH: 54,90 sFR)
Humpback whales migrate to tropical waters with temperatures of 22 to 28 degrees Celsius to mate and give birth, where ocean warming may now be causing a shift in their range. Using data from regional surveys and 20-year observations in a tropical and subtropical breeding area off the coast of Ecuador, we show that although cetaceans prefer the tropical breeding area off Esmeraldas, cetacean sightings in the cooler subtropical breeding area are increasing under warmer (ENSO - El Niño) conditions. Our results suggest that under ENSO conditions, humpback whales may reach the limit of their temperature tolerance in the warm tropical waters around Esmeraldas, while under La Niña conditions, cooler areas such as Peru and Manabí are less suitable and whales move further north.
YAQU PACHA has supported this work for many years and now this article has been published by Judith Denkinger.
The team of YAQU PACHA, Sandra Honigs and Sandra Isenberg are today with an information stand in the zoo Duisburg to the day of the manatee and inform there the visitors about our protection of species projects in Latin America.
Also present are our plush manatees from Teddy Hermann, with which you can support our projects.
YAQU PACHA was yesterday together with the project h2eau at the World Water Day at the Kunstraum Kö106 in Düsseldorf. We had set up an information booth and informed the visitors about our species protection projects. Our friend Konny Zimmermann together with his colleague Dirk inspired the audience with their fantastic water music. It was a wonderful evening and we thank the organizer Konrad Zimmermann h2eau for the donations from the entrance fees, which go in equal parts to Viva con Agua and YAQU PACHA.
YAQU PACHA attends the EAAM meeting in Valencia, Spain and was instrumental in organizing the Conservation Round Table. Dr. Lorenzo von Fersen presents our conservation projects there and also introduces our new campaign for the protection of the 600 last remaining Lahille's bottlenose dolphins.
From left to right: Dr. Daniel Garcia Parraga (Scientific Director L'Oceanografic, Valencia), Martin Böye (President Elect EAAM) and Dr. Lorenzo von Fersen (1st Chairman YAQU PACHA) at the launch of YAQU PACHA's new campaign to save the last 600 remaining Lahille's bottlenose dolphins.
Last Saturday, the flight counts of Franciscana Dolphins (Pontoporia blainvillei) started with flights between Maldonado and Montevideo in Uruguay. These flight counts are conducted for the first time on the coast of Uruguay and are very important to determine the population of La Plata dolphins in Uruguay.
Find out how you can help us with this important project below.
22.03.2023 is World Water Day and YAQU PACHA celebrates this day together with our friend and musician H2eau Projekt Konrad Zimmermann in a very special location in Düsseldorf at Kunstraum Kö 106!
Mark this date already and we are looking forward to your visit.
The entrance fee is 10 Euro and YAQU PACHA receives 50% of the entrance fees.
REPORT 2022 - ECOLOGIA HUMANA DO OCEANO GROUP
In this report, we present the results of the projects and educational programs supported by YAQU PACHA, in which YAQU PACHA assisted the ECOLOGIA HUMANA DO OCEANO group in Brazil in 2022. The projects are coordinated by Camilah Antunes Zappes, professor at the Universidade Federal do Espírito Santo, in southeastern Brazil. In 2022, YAQU PACHA funded two projects for a total of US$4609.96.
All of these projects will continue in 2023.
Project 1: Ethnobiology of the Guiana dolphin(Sotalia guianensis) in the state of Espírito Santo, southeastern Brazil.
Project 2: Ethnobiology of the Franciscana dolphin(Pontoporia blainvillei) along the Brazilian coast.
Project 3: Ocean at school
Project 4: Digital Ocean and the Dissemination of Marine Literacy
Download and view the entire report as PDF: report_eco_hum_oceano_2022
A very big thank youto Teddy Hermann for the great and long lasting support of our species protection projects with the wonderful plush animals from the YAQU PACHA collection and the generous donation!
Only through your support we can successfully work on the protection of endangered aquatic mammal species.
Thank you very much for your support and your donation!
You can find the plush animals from the Teddy Hermann YAQU PACHA collection in the PROMOTION section.
Help us with your donation | In the context of species conservation, aerial surveys are a proven method to estimate the population of a species. This is especially true for dolphin species. Basically, it involves the use of aircraft flying at low altitudes from which human observers can see and count the animals they see in the sea.
YAQU PACHA has previously supported aerial surveys (aerial survey Toninhas in Brazil and Argentina) in estimating the population of the endangered La Plata dolphins - Franciscana - Toninhas. So far, only Uruguay has a gap in the population estimate. From March to April 2023, a group of biologists from Brazil and Uruguay will fly along the Uruguayan coast to count La Plata dolphins. It will be the first time that data will be collected on the population of this species in Uruguay.
Aerial surveys are very expensive. They are carried out by companies that rent airplanes.
One flight hour aerial survey Toninhas costs 1000 EURO. A total of 43 flight hours are planned, which means that the whole project will cost 43000 EURO.
Thanks to various non-governmental organizations and other sponsors such as Tiergarten Nürnberg and Verein der Tiergartenfreunde Nürnberg e.V., 35000 EURO have already been collected, which means we still need to collect 8000 EURO.
The La Plata dolphin is the most endangered dolphin species in South America and urgently needs our help!
YAQU PACHA coordinates the protection efforts in Europe to save this dolphin species.
With your support you help to successfully carry out this important project and for your donation you will of course receive a donation receipt from us and if you wish, we will include you in the list of supporters of this project with your name and if desired, also with a link to your website.
You can donate conveniently and securely with PayPal
or with a donation to our donation account
Account holder: YAQU PACHA e.V.
IBAN: DE91 7605 0101 0001 1416 38
Bank: Sparkasse Nuremberg
Reason for payment: Donation Flight Count and please include your name and address with the transfer and mention yes or no and if applicable your internet address
Thank you very much for your support and your donation!
The project is possible thanks to the joint efforts of scientists from Uruguay, Brazil and Argentina:
Artur Andriolo, Alexandre Zerbini, Caterina Dimitriades, Cecilia Passadore, Daniel Danilewicz, Emanuel Ferreira, Federico Sucunza, Martin Sucunza Perez, Miguel Iñiguez, Paulo Henrique Ott, Valentina Franco-Trecu
20 years of LAJAM Journal - Latin American Journal of Aquatic Mammals and YAQU PACHA has sponsored the publication of this important scientific journal from the beginning. The publisher is SOLAMAC - Sociedad Latinoamericana de Especialistas en Mamíferos Acuáticos.
At the boot Düsseldorf 2023 YAQU PACHA and the companies MARES - just add water, Kallweit and Scubapro agreed to continue their long lasting partnership.
Thank you very much for your support of our species protection projects and your long lasting loyalty!
For many years YAQU PACHA also had a booth at the boot and next year we plan to be present again with our own booth at the boot fair in Düsseldorf to inform visitors about our work in species conservation.
Dr. Lorenzo von Fersen (1st chairman YAQU PACHA e.V.) presents the representatives of the companies Mares, Scubapro and Kallweit with our partnership award as a thank you for supporting our projects.
For 30 years YAQU PACHA e.V. has been active as a species protection organization in South America, respectively Latin America. Meanwhile we are working on the protection of 9 endangered aquatic mammal species in 6 countries in Latin America together with different partners.
We are currently working in species conservation in South America to protect the following endangered mammal species. With Lahille's bottlenose dolphins in Lagoa dos Patos in Brazil. With Project Manati in Brazil and Venezuela. The La Plata Dolphin Franciscana project spans Brazil, Uruguay and Argentina. The Amazon Dolphin and Sotalia projects are carried out in Brazil and Venezuela. Our maned seal project covers the entire range of this species. The sea otter project Lontra felina is carried out in Peru and together with YAQU PACHA Chile we work on the conservation of Chilean d olphins and Peales dolphins in Chile. And one of our most important projects is the project to protect the endangered vaquita in the Gulf of California.
We appreciate your interest in the work of our species conservation organization and our projects and your your support.
Thank you very much!
A group picture from our great WorkShop "HUMAN DIMENSION in small CETACEAN CONSERVATION"
Again, many thanks to all participants who made this species conservation meeting a successful event.
We would like to thank especially the Nuremberg Zoo, the Nuremberg Zoo Friends Association, the Aquazoo Löbbecke Museum Düsseldorf, Heidelberg Zoo, Duisburg Zoo, Planète Sauvage and Rancho Texas Lanzarote Park for their support.
Yesterday was our last WorkShop day. For five days, more than 30 experts from 15 countries discussed how to apply the human dimension to dolphin and small cetacean conservation. Our main goal at this WorkShop was to expand the concept in integrated species conservation by involving people, especially those who share their environment with endangered species. To achieve this goal, we invited experts such as psychologists, sociologists, anthropologists, tourism experts, and business and communication specialists, in addition to field biologists. Together we shared our experiences in species conservation, had lively discussions and developed ideas for the future.
The next step is to produce a report that can serve decision makers in situations where the coexistence of animals and humans may be threatened, especially by human activities.
We would especially like to thank the Nuremberg Zoo, theVerein der Tiergartenfreunde Nürnberg e.V., the Aquazoo Düsseldorf, the Zoo Heidelberg, the Zoo Duisburg, Planete Sauvage and Rancho Texas Lanzarote for their support.
On Saturday, our Species Conservation WorkShop talked about the threat status of 5 dolphin species that YAQU PACHA is working to protect and there were several interesting presentations about them.
Dr. Lorenzo Rojas-Bracho gave a presentation about the endangered vaquita.
Professor Eduardo Secchi provided information about the status of the Franciscana d olphin (Pontoporia blainvillei) and about Lahille's bott lenose dolphins in Lagoa dos Patos in Brazil.
Afterwards Fernando Trujillo informed about the endangered status of Inia geoffrensis, the Amazon dolphin and about Sotalia dolphins living in the rainforest of South America.
Saturday was an extremely informative day and we will present the results of our species conservation WorkShop in detail here.
Yesterday evening Dr. Lorenzo von Fersen, first chairman of our species conservation organization opened the international workshop "Human Dimension in small Cetacean Conservation" (strategies to engage people in species conservation). 34 experts from different disciplines will meet in Heilsbronn until December 21st to exchange experiences and to develop new strategies.
Many of our biologists from South America will participate in this important workshop and there will be a lively exchange of experiences and many interesting presentations on this topic.
The workshop was organized and financed by YAQU PACHA, because it is extremely important to get people interested in species conservation and to motivate them to make a contribution themselves.
Be it only through financial support.
All our species protection projects are financed through donations and membership fees and since we all work on a voluntary basis, all funds flow 100% into our projects in Latin America.
We will of course continue to report on the workshop and then present the results.
Partners of the event are: IUCN, Nuremberg Zoo, Verein der Tiergartenfreunde Nürnberg, European Association for Aquatic Mammals, Heidelberg Zoo, Duisburg Zoo, Aquazoo Düsseldorf Löbbecke Museum, Rancho Texas Lanzarote, Planète Sauvage.
The YAQU PACHA Chile team was very happy to receive a warm welcome at the school in Quellón and the students from preschool to 6th grade showed great interest and curiosity to learn more about the Chilean dolphin and its characteristics, habitat and conservation measures. All topics from our scientific research to biology, to the distribution of this endangered dolphin species were covered.
For decades, YAQU PACHA e.V. has been developing programs to raise people's awareness of biodiversity conservation. This work will now be intensified with the workshop "Human Dimensions of small Cetacean Conservation". Through a transdisciplinary approach involving biologists, psychologists, sociologists, anthropologists, economists and communication experts, concepts will be developed to make integrated species conservation sustainable through human participation. The workshop will take place from December 16 to 20. During these days, we will try to share current findings with members and interested parties.
Report by Maria Jimena Valderrama, veterinarian, from our partner organization Fundación Omacha
Thanks to Yaqu Pacha, I was able to travel from Bogota to Pantanal, Brazil, to participate in the 10th International Training Course for Wildlife Work, organized by the Tamandua Institute, for which I received a scholarship from FINN (Foundation for International Aid Animals).
During this course, I deepened my knowledge and skills for wildlife management in the wild. From capturing and sampling, clinical evaluation and field monitoring of different wildlife species, to in-depth discussion of animal health.
In addition, this meeting of different professionals working in conservation in Latin America was a place to discuss ideas, share knowledge and experiences in order to develop and strengthen strategies to address all the problems that arise in conservation medicine today.
Today is International Stop Bycatch Day and Yaqu Pacha is continuously working with fishermen and partners to reduce marine mammal bycatch from fishing activities.
Yaqu Pacha recognizes that fishing is important for local fishermen and communities to cover their daily livelihoods.
Therefore, we work closely with fishermen and fishing communities to find solutions to reduce bycatch.
Yaqu Pacha Chile is currently working intensively on the project NAVEGA con el delfín chileno. This is an important project to develop and increase awareness among the population about the Chilean dolphin (Cephalorhynchus eutropia) in Chile. Environmental education is an important component in all Yaqu Pacha projects.
Dr. Silvina Botta of ECOMEGA FURG, our partners in Brazil, is currently visiting the endocrinology lab at the Toronto Zoo for a training program sponsored by YAQU PACHA on hormone analysis in marine mammals. Stress-associated hormones such as cortisol are being analyzed in samples of Lahille bottlenose dolphins from ECOMEGA FURG and PROJETO BOTOS. Samples were obtained from tooth dentin using the automated MicroMill drilling system at ECOMEGA FURG. The main objective is to relate stress hormone levels to environmental factors such as changes in prey availability or deteriorated habitat conditions.
Congratulations also from our side and we would like to thank here also for the great cooperation with our biologists on site in all these years.
Yaqu Pacha Chile is currently working on a project NAVEGA con el delfín chileno and an article about it was published in a magazine in Chile.
Information is also available on the website of Yaqu Pacha Chile...
The team of Ecologia Humana do Oceano, our partners in environmental education with children in Brazil. The group carries out environmental education projects in kindergartens and schools in Brazil and is supported by Yaqu Pacha. Environmental education is an important part of all Yaqu Pacha projects.
There is a new publication by our biologist Professor Eduardo Secchi along with other scientists on the La Plata dolphin or Franciscana (Pontoporia blainvillei) in the new LAJAM Journal.
This publication, which focuses on the Franciscana dolphin, provides a step-by-step guide to help researchers working on marine mammal conservation compile long-term stranding databases.
This work is fundamental to species conservation research.
You can find this publication and other articles in the new issue of the LAJAM Latin American Journal of Aquatic Mammals.
Yaqu Pacha has supported LAJAM's publication since its inception.
Publisher Sociedad Latinoamericana de Especialistas en Mamíferos Acuáticos - SOLAMAC
The latest issue of the Latin American Journal of Aquatic Mammals (vol 17, issue 2) is now published and online.
Yaqu Pacha has supported the publication of LAJAM Magazine from the beginning. In this issue, among other things, there is a publication by our biologist Prof. Eduardo Secchi about the La Plata dolphin.
Sociedad Latinoamericana de Especialistas en Mamíferos Acuáticos - SOLAMAC
Some impressions of the 30th anniversary Yaqu Pacha e.V. members meeting in the zoo Duisburg
We met in the morning in the zoo and were welcomed and guided through the zoo and there was detailed and interesting information about the animals.
In the afternoon the Yaqu Pacha members met in the Aquazoo Löbbecke Museum Düsseldorf, where Dr. Lorenzo von Fersen (founder and 1st chairman of Yaqu Pacha) gave a presentation about 30 years of Yaqu Pacha e.V. and 30 years of species protection in Latin America.
The day ended with a joint dinner and many nice conversations.
At this point we would like to thank the Zoo Duisburg and the Aquazoo Düsseldorf for their hospitality and a big thank you also for the financial support of our projects in Latin America.
Here's to many more years of working to protect endangered aquatic mammal species.
30 years of species protection organization YAQU PACHA e.V. - 30 years of species protection in South America and Dr. Lorenzo von Fersen (1st chairman and founder of Yaqu Pacha) held a lecture in the Aquazoo Löbbecke Museum Düsseldorf about our 30 years of work in nature conservation and in the protection of endangered aquatic mammal species in Latin America.
Many members and interested people came to the event and followed with interest how everything started and what we have achieved and could move in the 30 years with our species protection organization.
At this point a very warm thank you to all members, partners and supporters, without whom our work would not be possible and we look forward to many more years in which we can work on the protection of threatened aquatic mammal species in South America - Latin America.
On the occasion of the International River Dolphin Day, our partners Proyecto Sotalia had an information event in Venezuela.
Many interested people came to this event and our biologist Yurasi Briceño reported about the work on the protection of the dolphins and our activities in Venezuela.
There was also a photo exhibition with photographs of different photographers and biologists.
There was also something for children and they participated with joy and interest.
At this point we would like to thank our partners from Proyecto Sotalia for their great work in Venezuela.
Yaqu Pacha at the Species Protection Day at the Aquazoo Löbbecke Museum Düsseldorf
Many visitors came to the Species Protection Day and the Yaqu Pacha team informed the visitors about our projects in Latin America. Special interest was shown in the protection of the endangered Vaquita.
In the photo from left to right... Silke Meyer, Sandra Honigs, Andreas Banse, Sebastian Schnock
Dr. Lorenzo von Fersen (1st Chairman Yaqu Pacha e.V.) gave a presentation about our species protection projects in Latin America at Planète Sauvage in France.
At this point we would like to thank Planète Sauvage for their hospitality and for their great support of our conservation projects in Latin America!
Today is the International Day of the La Plata Dolphin (Pontoporia blainvillei)
Yaqu Pacha has been working since 1996 with various partners to protect this, the most endangered dolphin species in South America.
Information can be found on our website and on the website of Consórcio Franciscana
Photo: Federico Sucunza Gemars
The 19th Working Meeting of Aquatic Mammal Specialists in South America (19th RT) 19 RT Brasil and the 13th Congress of the Latin American Society of Aquatic Mammal Specialists (XIII SOLAMAC) in Praia do Forte was held with main sponsorship from YAQU PACHA.
The presentations of the projects and the support of the Mata de São João City Hall were terrific.
The event, held from September 11-15, brought together the leading experts on aquatic mammals in Latin America. There were a total of 245 participants, 10 different countries, 294 papers presented and several exhibitors.
Yaqu Pacha was at the Species Protection Day at Duisburg Zoo and informed the visitors about our species protection projects in South America
From left to right... Lisa Schwarz, Sandra Honigs, Sebastian Schnock
One of the main goals of YAQU PACHA is to provide educational opportunities for Latin American students and professionals. We believe that this prepares these people to be the leading scientists in their home countries, and that this is the best foundation for a successful and sustainable scientific culture.
In recent years, YAQU PACHA has offered targeted support programs to help students, biologists, and veterinarians not only learn new research methods, but also build a network to help them navigate the world of science.
This is Raphaela Mota and her participation in the most important congress for aquatic mammals in August 2022 in Palm Beach, Florida, USA.
She then spent a month with Randy Wells to learn research methods. Her participation and training were paid for by YAQU PACHA.
Report by Maria Jimena Valderrama, veterinarian, from our partner organization Fundación Omacha https://omacha.org/
During the annual bottlenose dolphin health survey in Sarasota, Florida, organized by the Chicago Zoological Society and the Dolphin Biology Research Institute, I participated as an invited researcher, working in or near the waters of Sarasota Bay and surrounding areas with free-ranging dolphins.
This opportunity allowed me to increase my knowledge of dolphin population health assessment through specialized clinical examinations, ultrasound, sample collection and processing, analysis of physiological processes, and additional methods for identifying and capturing small cetacean populations. I plan to apply all of this to my work in South America with endangered river dolphins.
The Omacha Foundation has been working to protect them and aquatic ecosystems for about 30 years, but there is an urgent need to use new conservation medicine techniques to meet the new challenges posed by emerging diseases and new threats that may affect this species and its ecosystems.
This space was also a place to share experiences and knowledge with different institutions such as the National Marine Mammal Foundation, where new alliances were created for joint work in Colombia.