Species protection week

species protection week zoo nuremberg species protection week vaquita franciscana toninha la plata dolphin sotalia tursiops gephyreus exhibition
Dolphin models by Piotr Przylucki

Vaquita, Lahille's bottlenose dolphin and the Franciscana dolphin, all of these small cetacean species are highly endangered and threatened with extinction.
To draw attention to this, we organized a species protection week for endangered whales and dolphins at Nuremberg Zoo from 1 to 7 July. In our permanent exhibition, you can get to know various endangered species of small cetaceans using models.

sea of shadows vaquita vaquitas

On Saturday, we screened the documentary "Sea of Shadows", which is about saving the last vaquitas, as part of Species Protection Week. In this context, Dr. Lorenzo von Fersen (1st Chairman of YAQU PACHA e.V.) spoke about the threat to small whale species and presented our conservation projects.
The vaquita(Phocoena sinus), also known as the Californian harbor porpoise, is the most endangered marine mammal in the world. It is estimated that there are only around 9 vaquitas left. Through education, strict enforcement of fishing regulations and the promotion of sustainable fishing practices, YAQU PACHA is helping to conserve the vaquita's habitat in the Gulf of California.

In addition to the bycatch problem, climate change is one of the biggest threats to whales and dolphins.
The children's and youth group of the Nuremberg Zoo Friends Association, the TierEntdecker, prepared an exhibition on these topics and informed visitors about these important issues. We would like to take this opportunity to say a big thank you to the TierEntdecker for their fantastic work and great support during our species conservation week at Nuremberg Zoo.

Vaquita protection together with Pesca ABC

YAQU PACHA, Nuremberg Zoo and Zoomarine Portugal are pleased to announce their continued support for Pesca ABC.
PescaABC is a grassroots organization led by local fishermen and women that promotes sustainable fishing in the northern Gulf of California, Mexico.
The vaquita(Phocoena sinus) is the most endangered marine mammal in the world. The main cause of its decline is mortality from fishing nets used in both legal and illegal fisheries. We are working with Pesca ABC to promote alternative fishing methods to gillnets to save the vaquita from extinction while preserving local livelihoods.

pesca abc vaquita fishing rescue

Hook and line fishing is a proven sustainable method that allows fishermen to go about their work while protecting the vaquita. Drift nets are the main cause of the decline in the vaquita population. Fish caught with gillnets arrive dead and crushed, while fish caught with hook and line arrive alive. The use of humane techniques in post-catch processing increases the quality, shelf life and price of the fish. Better prices are the key to fishermen abandoning gillnets in favor of hook and line. We support Pesca ABC in building local capacity to implement a Japanese humane technique known as Ike-Jime.

With the support of YAQU PACHA and other donors, Pesca ABC has developed a catalog of gillnet-free techniques to sustain livelihoods and save the vaquita from extinction. In the coming months, Pesca ABC will also be working with Mujeres Acuicolas del Mar de Cortés to develop an oyster farm as an alternative to gillnets. In addition, Pesca ABC is working closely with a group of women who catch octopus during the tidal season. By supporting these and other non-gillnet fishing methods, Pesca ABC is helping to save the vaquita.

Saving the Amazon dolphins in Venezuela

Please take a moment and watch this video about saving the Amazon dolphins in Venezuela.
Our biologist Yurasi Briceño from Proyecto Sotalia explains the joint work to save and protect this endangered dolphin species.
The aim of the rescue operation is to recover isolated dolphins and reintroduce them to their natural rivers. The initiative is a collaboration between Rio Verde, Proyecto Sotalia, Fundación Omacha, WWF, YAQU PACHA and other organizations.

Vaquita Expedition 2024: Lessons learned and challenges

The Vaquita Expedition 2024 with numerous experienced researchers took place between May 5 and 26. The study area included the zero-tolerance zone (ZTZ) and a new expansion zone (EZ). This year, 9 vaquitas were sighted, fewer than last year (16), but the acoustic encounters increased from 61 to 70. The lower number of sightings in the CTC does not necessarily mean that the population is decreasing, as it is only a small part of its range.
The observers who conducted the expert survey did not see any calves, although a one-year-old vaquita was spotted. They believe that there will likely be 6 to 8 vaquitas left in 2024, with a lower probability of 9 to 11.
This estimate is lower than the 8 to 13 vaquitas spotted in the same area last year. However, all vaquitas sighted in 2024 appeared to be healthy.

vaquita expedition 2024 sightings sightings sirena seahorse map zta
Vaquita Sightings 2024 – Ships Sirena and Seahorse

One of the highlights of the Vaquita expedition was a new, unique video showing never-before-seen drone footage. These innovative shots offer an unprecedented view of the vaquitas.

drone drone vaquita Fabian Rodríguez González operation esperanza 2024
Vaquita Video by Fabian Rodríguez González – Drone Pilot

Dr Barbara Taylor, who led the expedition, said: "While these results are worrying, the area studied represents only 12% of the total range where vaquitas were observed in 2015. Since the vaquitas move freely within the vaquita conservation area , we need to expand our investigation using acoustic tracking to find out where they are moving. Vaquitas outside the protected area, which is protected by concrete blocks with hooks , need protection from the gill nets, which are their only threat."
YAQU PACHA has been committed to the protection of the vaquita locally for several years, but also informs about the fate of the species in Europe through targeted campaigns .

Vaquita Population 2024 Concrete Block Concrete Block Vaquitas
Replica concrete block with hook in Nuremberg Zoo

These concrete blocks with steel hooks were sunk in large numbers in the Gulf of California to keep fishermen away from vaquita habitats.

River dolphin project in Venezuela – Current measures

Inia Geoffrensis Venezuela Proyecto Sotalia River Dolphins

Last year, we started a project with PROYECTO SOTALIA to record the distribution of river dolphins (Inia geoffrensis) in Venezuela with the help of satellite transmitters. The aim of the project is to obtain information on the movements of the animals and to identify priority areas for this species in order to develop concrete conservation measures.

As a result of climate change, periods of rain and drought have led to an increase in the number of strandings of river dolphins . For this reason, this year we have started to train local actors and employees of environmental institutions (capacity building) so that they can respond efficiently to these events in order to reduce the mortality of this endangered species.

We were able to conduct a training workshop at the facilities of El Hato El Cedral in the state of Apure. In this region of the Venezuelan lowlands, strandings are increasingly reported during the summer season. The event was therefore an opportunity to share experiences and provide appropriate tools to respond to these situations, which could increase due to climate change.

Workshop Taller Inia Geoffrensis Venezuela Proyecto Sotalia River Dolphins

Report PDF: YaquPacha_Reporte_HatoCedral_Mayo2024

YAQU PACHA at Expo Uruguay Sostenible

Yaqu Pacha Expo Uruguay Sostenible

The YAQU PACHA Uruguay team presented our joint work from June 6 to 9 at Expo Uruguay Sostenible, an important trade fair dedicated to environmental protection and sustainability. In addition to an information booth, the team gave several presentations about our projects for the protection of endangered dolphin species.
In addition, there were numerous activities for children who enthusiastically accepted the offer. Pictures were painted, games were played and our dolphin masks were always there, which inspired the children. The media also became aware of our work and reported on our projects.
All in all, this Expo Uruguay Sostenible was a very successful event and the team of YAQU PACHA Uruguay was able to make many new and interesting contacts.

Team Yaqu Pacha Expo Uruguay Sostenible

World Ocean Day at Duisburg Zoo

World Ocean Day Zoo Duisburg Yaqu Pacha Team

YAQU PACHA was invited to the World Ocean Day at Duisburg Zoo and we had set up our booth in the middle of the countryside. The visitors showed great interest in our information booth and informed themselves about our projects and many interesting conversations ensued. We were also happy about numerous donations and our plush toys also found new owners. All in all, it was a very successful day with the best weather and we would like to thank all visitors for their interest in our work and support.
Many thanks to the YAQU PACHA team on site, Andreas Banse, Jolana and Mike Meister, Sandra Isenberg and Petra Loettker.
A big thank you also to Duisburg Zoo for the invitation to World Ocean Day.

Environment Week in Brazil

Environment Week Brazil Semana Meio Ambiente Brasil Ecologia Humana do Oceano

During the National Environment Week in Brazil, our partners from ECOLOGIA HUMANA DO OCEANO from the Federal University of Espírito Santo carried out activities with children and visitors. This week, the environmental education fair took place in the municipality of Guarapari in the state of Espírito Santo, in southeastern Brazil, where our research was presented in a scientific exhibition. Our partners organized games, videos, lectures and educational activities during the Environment Week about the Franciscana or Toninha dolphin (Pontoporia blainvillei) and the Sotalia dolphins (Sotalia guianensis) that occur in this region of the country.
The project presented is a partnership between ECOLOGIA HUMANA DO OCEANO, fishing communities and schools.
YAQU PACHA has been supporting projects like this for several years. Cooperation in environmental education is important to inform society about the anthropogenic influences on dolphins.


Help us protect the Lahille bottlenose dolphin!
With only 600 specimens left, the Lahille bottlenose dolphin (Tursiops gephyreus) is threatened with extinction.
The non-governmental organization KAOSA, YAQU PACHA, Nuremberg Zoo and our partners are launching the Backbone Guardians campaign to raise awareness of the issue and raise funds for the urgent conservation measures set out in our new 5-year action plan .

Watch our PPE video and spread the word!
Together, we can make a difference and save this unique species from extinction.

Our project to save Tursiops gephyreus is supported by:
ZOOMARINE – Algarve, Rancho Texas, Duisburg Zoo, National Marine Mammal Foundation, Fundación Oceanografic, Planete Sauvage, EAAM

Help us with your donation

Help us with your donation donation YAQU PACHA Donation Species Conservation

Even though we work with many institutions that support our projects, we depend on your support and donations. The successful and long-term implementation of our projects for the protection of endangered marine mammals requires a high financial commitment and the commitment of many helping hands who implement our projects in Latin America.
All YAQU PACHA employees work on a voluntary basis and all donations go directly to our projects.
Thank you very much for your support so that these wonderful animals will remain with us for a long time to come. Your team from YAQU PACHA

Results Workshop Human Dimensions of Small Cetacean Conservation

Human Dimensions of Small Cetacean Conservation group group picture

We are pleased to share with you the results of the workshop on the human dimensions in the conservation of small cetaceans, which took place in Nuremberg in December 2022. Our main goal was to investigate the influence of human behavior, thought, and emotion on small cetacean conservation efforts. We discussed the challenges and opportunities ahead and emphasized the importance of involving local communities and stakeholders.

It is clear that a holistic approach that takes into account social, economic, cultural and political factors is crucial. Collaboration is key! We need to work hand-in-hand with conservation organizations, governments, and local communities, adapting our strategies to changing needs and perspectives. Let's remember our key messages: Understanding human behaviour is crucial to reducing impacts on the marine environment. Successful conservation requires a change in human behavior and our efforts must benefit both dolphins and human communities.

Human Dimensions of Small Cetacean Conservation Goals Ziele

Read the report as a PDF here: 50.3_vonFersen_22_Workshop

The workshop was made possible thanks to the support of YAQU PACHA, Verein der Tiergartenfreunde Nürnberg and Tiergarten Nürnberg.

Effects of whale watching on the behaviour of right whales

Right whales Brazil Caipora Instituto Baleia Franca

This study includes an assessment of the impact of whale watching on the behaviour of the southern right whale (Eubalaena australis) and provides compelling evidence that this activity requires careful monitoring and regulation. The investigations carried out within the framework of the APA da Baleia Franca/ICMBio Marine Protected Area and supported by YAQU PACHA e.V. have provided invaluable insights that underline the need for sustainable tourism practices.

While whale watching is a popular ecotourism activity, it has been shown to have a significant impact on whale behavior and welfare if not managed properly. Through careful observation and data collection, this study examined the effects of whale-watching boats on various aspects of whale behavior. Modern tracking technologies and behavioral analysis methods have been used to quantify the extent of human disruption to the natural behavior of these marine mammals.

The conclusive results of this assessment serve as an important basis for informed decisions regarding tourism management in the marine protected area APA da Baleia Franca/ICMBio. It is imperative that stakeholders use this knowledge to take targeted remedial actions aimed at minimizing disturbance to southern right whales while providing an enriching experience for tourists.

This research makes an important contribution to the overall goal of promoting sustainable coexistence between human activities and marine ecosystems. By recognizing the impact of whale watching and applying responsible management strategies, we can not only try to protect the whales, but also create new perspectives for the people who live in the area and need to coexist with wildlife. In this way, we can preserve both biodiversity and the future of human populations.

The results of this project will be incorporated into the master's thesis of Daiane Manholer dos Santos, which is currently being carried out at the State University of Maringá (UEM), Brazil. The project was supervised by Jonatas Prado and Arturo Andriolo.


LAJAM Special Edition Manatees

Lajam Manatees Manatees Solamac

The new LAJAM Journal (Latin American Journal of Aquatic Mammals) has been published and is available online. This special issue is dedicated to the biology and protection of manatees.
The LAJAM Journal of SOLAMAC has been published exclusively online for several years and is available free of charge. YAQU PACHA has supported the publication of this important scientific journal from the very beginning.

YAQU PACHA Annual General Meeting 2024

Yaqu Pacha Annual General Meeting 2024

On Friday, 19.04.2024 from 6:30 – 8:30 p.m., this year's Annual General Meeting took place in the Natural History House of Nuremberg Zoo and online via Zoom. Dr. Lorenzo von Fersen (1st Chairman YAQU PACHA e.V.) led through the event and we had again invited 5 of our biologists and partners from South America and the USA to report on our cooperation and the joint projects.

Furg Brasil Ecomega Franciscana Dolphin 25 Year Old Years Eduardo Secchi

Prof. Eduardo Secchi from the Universidade Federal do Rio Grande FURGECOMEGA kicked things off. We are already connected by a 28-year partnership and now 25 years in the protection of the La Plata dolphin – Franciscana – Toninha (Pontoporia blainvillei). Prof. Secchi emphasized again that the greatest dangers for the La Plata dolphin are bycatch and that we continue to work together to reduce bycatch of this endangered dolphin species. Through the work at the university and contacts with government circles, contacts with political decision-makers are now also being developed. Prof. Secchi shared that there will be talks about the establishment of a marine national park in Brazil as late as April 2024, which would be crucial for the protection of the La Plata dolphin.

Lajam Solamac Consorcio Franciscana Yaqu Pacha

alliance for franciscana dolphin

The next speaker was Dr. Aricia Duarte-Benvenuto from the University of São Paulo, Brazil. She is a veterinarian and part of the rehabilitation group for La Plata dolphins. For stranded La Plata dolphins , this group of specialists was created throughout the distribution area of the La Plata dolphin to rescue stranded Franciscana dolphins – toninhas and rehabilitate them in specially equipped facilities. The work of this group is divided into 3 departments, rehabilitation, nutrition (special milk) and the examination of dead animals (necropsy). Ms. Duarte-Benvenuto once again emphasized the decisive progress that has already been achieved by these working groups and how important the exchange of veterinarians among each other is.

orphaned Franciscana Calves

Franciscana Working Groups La Plata Delfin

alliance for franciscana dolphin

Reduce ByCatch Dolphins Federico Sucunza Gemars

Afterwards, Dr. Federico Sucunza GEMARS reported on our joint project to reduce bycatch in La Plata dolphins – Franciscana – Toninha and the Lahille dolphin. A simple and inexpensive method is used in which empty (air-filled) plastic bottles are mounted in the fishing nets. The air trapped in the bottles reflects the echolocation sounds of the dolphins and the dolphins recognize the fishing nets as an obstacle and avoid them. Dr. Sucunza reported an 85% decrease in bycatch among fishermen using this method. Therefore, discussions with fishermen and fishing communities are an important part of our project in order to advise them and convince them of this method.

bycatch dolphins plastic bottles pet

bycatch dolphins fishermen fisherman

Franciscana Dolphins Toninha La Plata Delfin Yaqu Pacha Thank You

veterinary medicine conservation dolphins

The next speaker was Dr. Cynthia Smith, President and CEO of the National Marine Mammal Foundation NMMF in the USA. Ms. Smith presented Operation GRACE, which focuses on the education and training of veterinarians (capacity building). We have been working together successfully for many years and there have already been several joint workshops to train veterinarians, who can then be used in different areas to rescue and rehabilitate the animals. The focus here is on the rescue and rehabilitation of the La Plata dolphins and the Amazon river dolphins (Inia geoffrensis). Last year, for example, the teams were on site together to rescue the river dolphins in Lake Tefé in Brazil.

Franciscana Dolphin Brazil Uruguay Argentina La Plata Dolphin

Amazon River Dolphins

River Dolphin Veterinary Workshop Yaqu Pacha

50 anos projeto botos da lahille dolphins tursiops gephyreus

Afterwards, Dr. Pedro Fruet PROJETO BOTOS, KAOSA presented our project to save the last 600 Lahille Bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops gephyreus). He began with a review of the project and reported that work on the protection of this endangered dolphin species began in Brazil 50 years ago. Dr. Fruet explained the milestones that were achieved during the course of the project through our cooperation. In order to be able to work even more effectively and specifically on the protection of this highly endangered dolphin species, a 5-year action plan for the rescue of the Lahille dolphin has now been developed, which we will now implement together.

milestones tursiops gephyreus

projeto gephyreus brasil uruguay yaqu pacha

5 years action plan tursiops gephyreus lahille bottlenose dolphin

thank you yaqu pacha

At this point, we would like to thank all partners, members and supporters of YAQU PACHA. Only with your help is it possible for us to work successfully on our species conservation projects.

The minutes of the YAQU PACHA Annual General Meeting will also be available here on our website shortly.

Climate change: past present future

ideas forum Nuremberg climate change past present future Planetarium

On Friday, 26.04.2024, an information evening with lectures on climate change will take place as part of the Ideas Forum at the Nicolaus Copernicus Planetarium in Nuremberg. Dr. Lorenzo von Fersen (1st Chairman of YAQU PACHA) reports on the influences of climate change on species conservation and explains the role of zoos in species conservation.
Admission is from 5:00 p.m. – admission is free.
Please register for the event at the e-mail address info@bionicum.de , or by phone 0911 650845-00
We appreciate your interest and your participation.

PESCA ABC fish guide to protect the vaquita

Fish Guide Pesca ABC Gulf of California Vaquita

PESCA ABC, in collaboration with YAQU PACHA and other institutions, has taken an important step towards the protection of marine fauna and has published a fish guide that reflects our commitment to sustainability and environmental protection. This fish guide is not only a compilation of species, but also a testimony to our efforts to conserve marine resources in a responsible and ethical way.
One of the most outstanding features of this catalogue is that all the fish in it come from selective and sustainable fishing methods. In an area where the Vaquita fighting for its survival due to the use of gill nets, has PESCA ABC not to use this method, which carries a high risk of bycatch. Instead, selective fishing techniques have been chosen to minimise the impact on undesirable species and ensure the protection of endangered marine animals.
The catalogue also reflects the inclusivity and gender equality in our community. Both men and women are actively involved in all stages of the process, from catch to marketing. We recognize and value the contribution of each individual, regardless of gender, to the conservation of our natural resources.
In order to ensure compliance with the rules on Protection of the vaquita, turtles and non-target species, the catalogue is supported by certifications confirming the commitment to responsible fishing practices. Last but not least, we promote the use of the Japanese IKE-JIME technique for the humane killing of fish in the catalogue. This fast and humane method guarantees the quality and freshness of the fish while respecting the welfare of the animals. With the introduction of this technique, we reaffirm our commitment to ethical principles at all stages of fishing activities.
In short, the launch of this fish catalogue is not just an event, but an important milestone in our fight to protect the oceans. It is an expression of our shared commitment to sustainability, gender equality, compliance and respect for all marine life. We invite everyone to join us on our journey towards a future where we can enjoy the richness of the sea without compromising its integrity.
This fish guide to the Protection of the vaquita was supported by the support of Alumbra Innovations Foundation, Cetacean Action Treasury, Oceans 5, Marisla Foundation, Association of Zoos and Aquariums – Safe program, The Living Desert – Zoo and Gardens, Yaqu Pacha e.V.
Fish Guide Pesca ABC Vaquita Mexico Gulf of California

Fish guide as PDF: Catalogo Especies Pesca ABC FINAL

YAQU PACHA for the Day of the Manatee at Duisburg Zoo

Day of the Manatee Zoo Duisburg yaqu pacha manatee day manati

The team of YAQU PACHA, Sandra Honigs and Andreas Banse were represented with an information booth at Duisburg Zoo on the Day of the Manatee. Many visitors showed interest in our booth and learned about the work and species conservation projects of YAQU PACHA. In particular, about our project to protect manatees in Venezuela, which we are carrying out there together with Proyecto Sotalia . Of course, we were also happy about the donations in our donation box, which flow directly into our species conservation projects, as we all work on a voluntary basis. The Day of the Manatee takes place every year on the last Wednesday in March and we would like to take this opportunity to thank Duisburg Zoo for the invitation and all visitors for their interest in our work and projects.

Lahille Dolphin Workshop in Brazil

Lachille dolphin workshop brazil bottlenose dolphin brasil

Two weeks ago, an important workshop on the development of a Conservation Management Plan (CMP) for the Lahille bottlenose dolphin took place. The workshop hosted by KAOSA , which was attended by numerous stakeholders, including scientists, conservationists and government officials, was a crucial step in ensuring the long-term survival of this endangered dolphin species.

For two days, the participants conducted intensive discussions, data analysis and joint planning sessions. The workshop began with extensive presentations on the current status of Lahille Bottlenose dolphin populations, their endangered status, and the various threats they face, including habitat destruction, pollution, and bycatch.
The workshop ended with a sense of optimism and a renewed commitment to joint conservation efforts. As the draft CMP will be further refined and consulted in the coming months, the workshop is a testament to the power of international cooperation. YAQU PACHA as an NGO strongly supports this CMP and is already involved in the implementation of several projects that we have set out in the five-year action plan .

Vaquita: perfectly blocked!

Vaquita concrete block illegal fishing zoo Nuremberg
With this installation, Nuremberg Zoo draws attention to the situation of the vaquitas

Creative approach to species conservation
In 2023, a groundbreaking step was taken in the fight against illegal fishing. The introduction of innovative concrete blocks with steel hooks in the habitat of the endangered vaquitas has effectively captured fishing nets and reduced the lethal impact on the species. This move marks a turning point in the protection of vaquitas, as the numbers of illegal fishing fell by around 90 percent for the first time. For the endangered vaquitas in the Gulf of California, there is hope for the future again.
This innovative method not only protects the vaquitas, but also sets a global example: creative approaches and collaborations can produce effective solutions to complex environmental problems.

Five-year conservation strategy for the Lahille bottlenose dolphin

Lahille's bottlenose dolphin action plan Lahille Bottlenose Tursiops gephyreus

Preserving biodiversity remains an urgent imperative for the health of our planet. With the increasing challenges posed by human-caused problems, the conservation of each individual species is becoming a crucial priority. The Lahille bottlenose dolphin (Tursiops gephyreus), of which there are only a maximum of 600 specimens left, faces an increasing threat from habitat destruction, pollution, bycatch and climate change, highlighting the urgent need for concerted conservation measures.

In view of the endangered status of the Lahille bottlenose dolphin, YAQU PACHA and Nuremberg Zoo , together with the Gephyreus working group from Brazil , have initiated a strategic measure that was published only a few days ago. The aim of this collaboration was to set 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 Whales and Dolphins (ICPC), is the result of extensive consultations, reviews and expert input. Five strategic areas have been identified: (1) Scientific Research and Conservation, (2) Legislation and Policy, (3) Communication, Outreach and Awareness-Raising, (4) Institutional Strengthening and Education, and (5) Citizen Science.

After careful consideration, the researchers compiled a portfolio of projects that align with each strategic line, taking into account factors such as feasibility, impact, and stakeholder involvement. Of the 26 essential projects, eight were identified as high priority, reflecting the strategic focus on initiatives with the potential to have a significant impact on conservation.

This 5-year strategic plan underlines the commitment to addressing the multiple challenges faced by the Lahille bottlenose dolphins. By promoting international cooperation, increasing stakeholder engagement and setting priorities for 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 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.

Laille Bottlenose dolphin partner action plan bottlenose dolphin tursiops gephyreus

Action_Plan_Lahille_Dolphin (PDF)

YAQU PACHA supports workshop on the health assessment of river dolphins

Workshop River Dolphins Valencia Spain

Veterinarians from all over the world met in Valencia and then in the Canary Islands (Spain) for a training event on the health assessment, rescue and relocation 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 special 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 relocation operations. Professionals working with YAQU PACHA in river dolphin conservation in Colombia and Brazil also attended 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.

Ultrasound Examination Workshop River Dolphins Valencia

Read the entire publication about the workshop here

Article about the critically endangered Lahille dolphin

Habitat destruction, overfishing, increasing health impairment due to pollutants and bycatch are endangering the survival of the lahille dolphin, the most endangered dolphin species in the southwest Atlantic. In the science section of the Uruguayan newspaper "la diaria" an article was published about our work for the protection of the highly endangered Lahille dolphin (Tursiops gephyreus). Our project to save the last 600 remaining animals covers the entire distribution area of this dolphin species, from Brazil to Uruguay.

la diaria toninas dolphins dolphins lahille tursiops gephyreus brazil uruguay

Read the article as a PDF here...

20231127 la diaria toninas regional

Vaquita conservation area to be expanded


There is hope for the endangered vaquita, as the current 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 protected area in the Gulf of California. These measures have had a significant impact, with a 90% reduction in illegal fishing. Fishermen are now avoiding this area for fear of losing their nets. Due to the success of this measure, the protected area is now being expanded. The Mexican government plans to sink another 152 concrete blocks with steel hooks in the next few months.

Vaquita Sanctuary Gulf of California Mexico

We very much welcome this extremely promising development and are also actively working with Pesca ABC to develop and implement alternative fishing methods that ensure that vaquitas no longer end up in the nets as bycatch.


The bottlenose dolphin – adaptation to climate change

Bottlenose dolphin Tursiops gephyreus brazil brazil climate change

Climatic changes have led to extensive restructuring of the world's oceans. Marine organisms have responded to new conditions with various biological systems, including genomic adaptations. The increasing accessibility of next-generation DNA sequencing methods to study non-modeled species has recently made it possible to study genomic changes that underlie environmental adaptations. This study used double-digestible restriction site-associated DNA (ddRAD) sequence 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.

Tursiops truncatus gephyreus brazil brazil atlantic ocean climate change

A genomic divergence at the subspecies level was confirmed between the coastal Bottlenose dolphin (T. truncatus truncatus) and the coastal Lahille Bottlenose dolphin (T. t. gephyreus) in the southwestern Atlantic (SWAO). Likewise, at the subspecies level, a divergence between the coastal (eastern Australia) Indo-Pacific bottlenose dolphin (T. aduncus) and the proposed Burrunan's bottlenose dolphin (T. australis) from southern Australia is suspected. Bottlenose dolphins living near the coast generally had a lower genomic diversity than offshore lines, a pattern that was particularly evident in T. t. gephyreus , which had an exceptionally low diversity. Genomic regions associated with cardiovascular, musculoskeletal and energy production systems appear to have undergone repeated adaptive evolutions in coastal lineages in the southern hemisphere. We suspect that comparable selective pressures in the coastal environment have elicited similar adaptive responses in each lineage, thus supporting the parallel evolution of coastal bottlenose dolphins. As climate change changes marine ecosystems worldwide, it is crucial to gain an understanding of the adaptive capacity of local species and populations.
Our study provides insights into important adaptive pathways that may be important for the long-term survival of whales and other organisms in a changing marine environment.

Genomic Divergence and the Evolution of Ecotypes in Bottlenose Dolphins (Genus Tursiops)

Development of methods to reduce bycatch

bycatch bycatch pet bottles fishing nets brazil GEMARS

Bycatch is the biggest threat to many dolphin species and populations worldwide. In particular, the La Plata dolphin or Franciscana toninha is a species where bycatch reaches unsustainable levels in some regions. To counteract this problem, we are actively involved alongside our partners and work together on practical solutions.
A first promising approach is the attachment of empty (air-filled) PET bottles 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 needed to statistically confirm this positive trend. This simple and cost-effective solution to a serious problem, if successful, could be an important step in reducing bycatches. In addition, this method could also be used 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 part of their work.

PET bottles fisherman Brazil Toninha Pesca Bycatch

Cooperation agreement with GEMARS in Brazil

Contract Gemars Yaqu Pacha Contrato Dr. Lorenzo von Fersen Federico Sucunza
Dr. Lorenzo von Fersen YAQU PACHA and Dr. Federico Sucunza GEMARS

Dr. Lorenzo von Fersen, on behalf of YAQU PACHA, signed a cooperation agreement with GEMARS on cooperation in the fields of education, science, technology and culture at a meeting with our partners in Brazil.
Close cooperation with local organizations in South America is crucial for the successful implementation of our projects.
There have also been discussions 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).

Pescadores pesca fishery gemars brazil brasil

Gemars Yaqu Pacha group contrato Brazil Brasil
Daniel Danilewicz, Paulo Ott, Lorenzo von Fersen, Federico Sucunza

Talks about cooperation in Brazil

SJCDH Brasil Brazil Rafael Gessinger Lorenzo von Fersen Cooperation Cooperation

As an organization based in Germany, the President and Undersecretary of State for Justice and Institutional Integrity of the Secretariat for 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 about joint cooperation.
The occasion was the actions to mark the 200th anniversary of German immigration to Brazil.
Dr. von Fersen has been working with YAQU PACHA with Brazilian institutions for over 25 years and conducts research on the protection of aquatic mammals. One of the species that is at the heart of the binational collaboration is the La Plata dolphin – Franciscana – Toninha, an endangered dolphin species found only 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. Dr. von Fersen was received on site by 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 von Fersen at the Fernando Ferrari (CAFF) administrative center. On this occasion, the measures to celebrate the 200th anniversary of German immigration and the design 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.

25 years of Franciscana – Toninha Research

25 Years Franciscana Research Research Toninha Brasil Eduardo Secchi La Plata Delfin
Prof. Eduardo Secchi and Dr. Lorenzo von Fersen

The La Plata dolphin – Franciscana – Toninha (Pontoporia blainvillei) is one of the most endangered dolphin species in the world and YAQU PACHA started researching this dolphin species 25 years ago together with Prof. Eduardo Secchi and since then has developed various conservation measures to preserve the population of the Franciscana – Toninha in its entire distribution area from Brazil to Uruguay to Argentina.
Dr. Lorenzo von Fersen met with Prof. Eduardo Secchi from the Universidade Federal do Rio Grande (FURG) to discuss future strategies to conserve the species.


Race for Grace national marine mammal foundation nmmf aquatic mammals dolphin quest yaqu pacha

Join the race for Operation GRACE from November 6 to 30. YAQU PACHA is supporting 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 intended to inspire people and get them moving, and the kilometers collected are intended to motivate them to achieve the goal they have set. There is a virtual world map with different 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 travel around the world virtually and visit all these animals.
After signing up and paying the registration fee, you and your team can participate in the RACE FOR GRACE and earn miles in different areas to reach your destination.
Then there are different stages of the fundraising campaign. The first level is Dolphin Defender – for anyone who wants to get involved in the protection and rescue of 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.
Further information and the possibility to register can be found on the page RACE FOR GRACE

Report Rescue operation river dolphins Lago Tefé, our partner Aiuká

River dolphin rescue Aiuká yaqu pacha Amazon River dolphins Brazil Lago Tefé

Aiuká NMMF and IFAW Team Lago Tefé Brazil River dolphins Amazon

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 Lake Tefé in Brazil reached a temperature of 39°C. On September 3rd, the Amazon river dolphins (Inia geoffrensis) and Tucuxi (Sotalia fluviatilis) began to appear dead in the region of Lake Tefé. The peak was reached on September 28 with 70 dead animals. A total of 154 dead dolphins were found by September. At that time, the Mamirauá Institute contacted the organization YAQU PACHA, which immediately asked its partners for help and set up a network of volunteers to complement the rescue efforts on the ground.
YAQU PACHA, in collaboration with Aiuká, NMMF and IFAW , immediately set up a rescue team for the Amazon dolphins and Tucuxi in Tefé.
Below is the report as a PDF and an overview of the actions of these teams...


The 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

Lago Tefé Papucu River dolphins rescue Brazil Amazon tucuxi

Preserving biodiversity in the European Parliament

biodiversity european parliament eu dolphin conservation bycatch preserving biodiversity conservation dolphins

In order to preserve biodiversity and protect whales and dolphins, the European Parliament invited experts to a meeting in Brussels.
Dr. Lorenzo von Fersen (1st Chairman of YAQU PACHA) was invited to this event and reported on our projects to reduce bycatch of dolphin species such as the critically 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 the IUCN Species Survival Commission and WAZA . In addition to the 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 as well as with fishermen. He reported on the strategies that have been developed to counteract the bycatch of dolphins and whales in fishing nets. Professor Boris Culik presented the results of his work on the protection of dolphins with acoustic signals (pingers) to keep dolphins away from fishing nets.
We are very pleased that our organisation is involved in such important projects of the European Parliament for the conservation of biodiversity.

Professor Boris Culik Martin Böye Planete Sauvage European Parliament Biodiversity conservation dolphins
Professor Boris Culik and Martin Böye

Brazil: Update on the rescue of river dolphins in Lake Tefé

Amazon River dolphins Inia geoffrensis Tucuxi Sotalia fluviatilis dolphins Amazon Brazil Lago Tefé

On the initiative of ICMBio and the Instituto Mamirauá , our joint rescue operation for the river dolphins in Lake Tefé in Brazil was launched. So far, 154 dead dolphins have been counted and everything indicates that the extremely high water temperatures of 39 degrees Celsius are the cause of the mass extinction of river dolphins (Inia geoffrensis) and (Sotalia fluviatilis).

Lago Tefé Brazil River dolphins Rescue teams Amazon dolphins Inia geoffrensis Tucuxi Sotalia fluviatilis

Rescue teams from our partners, consisting of veterinarians and biologists, are on site and monitor the condition of the dolphin population. Dolphins with 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 will take turns and veterinarians and biologists from our partners from Spain, Portugal and Argentina will soon arrive at Lake Tefé to support the teams on site.

Rescue operation River dolphins Lago Tefé Brazil Amazon dolphin Inia geoffrensis Tucuxi Sotalia fluviatilis

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.
Considerable financial resources are needed to carry out the rescue operation. You can support us in the rescue of the river dolphins in Lake Tefé with a donation...

Report by ICMBio and Instituto Mamirauá



The rescue operation for the river dolphins in Lake Tefé in Brazil is carried out in cooperation with the following organizations...

Partners Rescue River Dolphins Lago Tefé Brazil Amazon Dolphin Sotalia

Species Conservation Day at Aquazoo Düsseldorf and Nuremberg Zoo

Species Conservation Day Aquazoo Düsseldorf yaqu pacha river dolphins

YAQU PACHA was represented with 2 information booths at the Species Conservation 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 Nuremberg Zoo. The focus at Aquazoo Düsseldorf was on the river dolphins and our current rescue operation for the river dolphins in Lago Tefé in Brazil. Many interested visitors came to the Aquazoo and interesting conversations ensued. The visitors were appalled by the extent of the dolphin mortality in Brazil.
In 3 lectures , Dr. Lorenzo von Fersen informed the visitors of the Nuremberg Zoo about our species conservation projects in Latin America. The focus was on our work to conserve the population of the Franciscana dolphin – toninha (Pontoporia blainvillei) in coastal waters from Brazil to Argentina and our efforts to protect the endangered vaquita in the Gulf of California. Another important point was of course our current rescue operation for the river dolphins in Lago Tefé in Brazil. The teams of our partners are on site and are currently trying to bring the dolphins to slightly cooler regions of the lake. Extremely high water temperatures of around 39 degrees Celsius are the main cause of the mass extinction of river dolphins.
A heartfelt thank you to all visitors to the Species Conservation Day and for their interest in our work.

Species Conservation Day Nuremberg Zoo Toninha Franscicana Vaquita river dolphins lago tefe

Knowledge Week in Brazil

Week of Knowledge Brazil Ecologia Humana do Oceano Project Sotalia guianensis

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. The focus was on 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 the 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.

Rescue operation for the river dolphins in Lake Tefé in the Amazon

River dolphins rescue Lago Tefé Brazil Inia geoffrensis Sotalia fluviatilis

In the central Brazilian Amazon, a dramatic mass extinction of river dolphins is currently taking place. 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), the remaining 20% are Tucuxi dolphins (Sotalia fluviatilis). In total, this corresponds to about 10% of the known population in Lake Tefé. "Such a high percentage of losses in the Amazon dolphin is alarming. If these numbers escalate, we could be dealing with a possible extinction of the species in Lake Tefé," warns Dr. Marmontel. She leads the research into the causes in Brazil and takes 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, together with our partners, is supporting Dr. Marmontel and her team to save the remaining river dolphins and conduct a comprehensive scientific investigation into the causes of this tragic mass extinction. The alarmingly high mortality rate is currently attributed to rising water temperatures, which have reached an alarming 40 degrees Celsius in some areas.

River dolphins Lago Tefé threat rescue Inia geoffrensis Sotalia fluviatilis dead river dolphins Amazon

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 conduct a comprehensive scientific investigation into the causes of these tragic deaths. It is important to emphasize that this emergency plan is a joint 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, the 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 come 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 the coordination of veterinary care on site.

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.

Donation account:

Account holder: YAQU PACHA e.V.
IBAN: DE91 7605 0101 0001 1416 38
Bank details: Sparkasse Nürnberg
Purpose: Donation Rescue Tefe River Dolphins

Map Map Lago Tefé Brazil Amazon

Project Amazon Dolphin | Manatee | Team Latin America | Environmental Education

Día Internacional del Delfín Franciscana

Día Internacional del Delfín Franciscana dia da toninha pontoporia blainvillei la plata delfin

Dia da Toninha – Today is the International Day of the La Plata Dolphin – 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 the coastal waters from Brazil to Uruguay to Argentina and YAQU PACHA has been working on the protection of this dolphin species since 1996 to save it from extinction.
Together with other partners, the Consorcio Franciscana was also founded a few years ago in order to work more effectively together with other partners to protect this endangered species .
Together with biologists and scientists from Brazil and Uruguay, for example, we were also able to successfully carry out the first flight counts to determine the population of the La Plata dolphin – Delfín Franciscana (Pontoporia blainvillei) in Uruguay in 2023.
The 1st of October – Dia da Toninha – is the day to draw attention to the situation of these animals together and YAQU PACHA will continue to work tirelessly for the protection and conservation of this endangered dolphin species.

Franciscana Delfin Toninha Pontoporia Blainvillei La Plata Delfin

Lifetime Achievement Award for Dr. Lorenzo von Fersen

Lifetime Achievement Award eaza Dr. Lorenzo von Fersen

Dr. Lorenzo von Fersen (1st Chairman of YAQU PACHA) was awarded the EAZA Lifetime Achievement Award yesterday for his work and services to the protection of endangered aquatic mammal species in Latin America.
Dr. von Fersen also presented our projects for the protection of the endangered Lahille's Bottlenose dolphin (Tursiops gephyreus) at the conference
We are very, very proud! Congratulations Lorenzo von Fersen!

Lifetime Achievement Award EAZA Dr. Lorenzo von Fersen

Expedition to the Inias in the Río Casiquiare

Inias Río Casiquiare Venezuela dolphins Inia Geoffrensis expedition

Our partners from PROYECTO SOTALIA , led by Yurasi Briceño , and the Fundación OMACHA , led by our colleague Fernando Trujillo, are currently underway on the Río Casiquiare in Venezuela to record the Inia population (Inia geoffrensis) and determine its number using river transects. It is the first time that an expedition to investigate Inias has been carried out in this river. So far, nothing is known about the population size and distribution of the Inias in this river system. The data is important to determine the threat status of the Inias in Venezuela and to develop appropriate measures to protect this dolphin species .

The Casiquiare River connects the two major 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 are collected on the size of the population, as well as the movement patterns and health status of Inia geoffrensis . The Casiquiare River is one of the most pristine, biodiverse and least explored places in the Venezuelan Amazon, and any contribution to the knowledge of this area is valuable.

Río Casiquiare Proyecto Sotalia Fundacion Omacha Venezuela inia geoffrensis

Children's book – Humpback whales and right whales in Brazil

children's book humpback whales right whales baleias brazil Fafá e Juba

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 whales and right whales and published it as an eBook.
This book brings children closer to the way of life of whales on the coast of Brazil in a playful way using the two whale calves Fafá and Juba and offers child-friendly information about the animal species. Games and small puzzles are also included in the book.
You can download the book for free on the website of ECOLOGIA HUMANA DO OCEANO as a PDF.
The children's book was created with the support of YAQU PACHA. Environmental education is an important part of all YAQU PACHA projects.

children's book humpback whales right whales brazil baleias Fafá e Juba

Children's Book Whales Humpback Whale Right Whale Brazil Brasil Baleias

Species Conservation Day at Duisburg Zoo

Species Conservation Day 2023 Duisburg Zoo Information booth YAQU PACHA

In bright sunshine, YAQU PACHA was allowed to be a guest at Duisburg Zoo on Saturday for Species Conservation Day. It was a great day with many nice conversations about the protection of mammals living in the water and numerous euros went into the donation box. But also the plush toy assortment arrived as usual, until at the end of the day it was said... Manatee and puffin sold out! But penguins and dolphins also 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 information booth for Species Conservation Day 2023.

Species Conservation Day 2023 Duisburg Zoo Plush Toys Teddy Hermann

Dietary habits of fur seals

Our biologist Prof. Eduardo Secchi , together with other scientists, has published an article on the feeding habits of the South American fur seal (Arctocephalus australis) and the sub-Antarctic fur seal (Arctocephalus tropicalis). The study shows how the feeding habits of these two species have changed over the years and how the animals have partially changed their diet from fish to squid. This is probably due to the progressive overfishing of their prey fish by industrial fishing. In addition, an increased intake of marine litter, especially flexible plastic material, by the animals was 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 development of sustainable species protection measures.

Fur seals food for seals feeding habits

de Lima et al. (2023) Feeding habits of South American and sub-Antarctic for seals

Vaquita's hopeful fight for survival

For decades, the news about the vaquita (Phocoena sinus) has become increasingly depressing, as the number of animals decreased from year to year. Now there is new hope, because the latest estimate of the vaquita population in the upper Gulf of California in Mexico has shown that the current population of the species is 10 to 13 individuals, including one or two calves. This means that no more animals have been lost compared to previous surveys, perhaps the population has grown 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 May 2023 in the Gulf of California (https://iucn-csg.org/wp-content/uploads/2023/06/Vaquita-Survey-2023-Main-Report.pdf).

The vaquita population has dropped to critical levels, largely due to illegal fishing for shrimp and totoaba, another critically endangered species. It is important to point out that the vaquita population declined from 567 to 245 individuals between 1997 and 2008. Later, from 2008 to 2015, the rate of decline of the 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 has been banned in a so-called zero-tolerance area in the northern part of the Gulf of California, but fishing is still illegal there. In August 2022, the Mexican Navy deployed 193 concrete blocks with three-meter-high metal hooks in the area, in which nets are supposed to be caught. In addition, the Mexican Navy has worked with the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society and other organizations to closely monitor fisheries, resulting in a 90 percent reduction in fishing in the zero-tolerance zone, according to the study.

"The concrete blocks, together with enforcement within the ZTA, appear to be an effective means of preventing gill nets," the IUCN report said. "Based on this year's findings, expanding the concept of concrete blocks and hooks to other areas where vaquitas are known to forage is an urgent priority."

Dr. Lorenzo Rojas-Bracho Vaquita
Dr. Lorenzo Rojas-Bracho with a model of a vaquita, IUCN

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 gill nets and helping fishermen create markets for their vaquita-friendly fish products.

For seven years, YAQU PACHA and Nuremberg Zoo have been supporting various NGOs such as Vaquita CPR, Pesca ABC and Museo de la Ballena, which 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 who are committed to protecting 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 to work for the protection of the species.


YAQU PACHA coffee in cooperation with Don Roberto Coffee – Climate protection is species protection – Climate-neutral specialty coffee from Costa Rica.
We are pleased about the cooperation and support of Don Roberto Kaffee, which promotes species conservation and supports our important work on the ground in Latin America.
YAQU PACHA has been implementing species conservation projects in Latin America for over 30 years, with the aim of protecting animal species with the involvement of the local population. The aim of YAQU PACHA is to find solutions for the protection of endangered species together with the local people.
When you buy a pack, a donation of 2 EURO automatically goes to YAQU PACHA and thus directly benefits our species conservation projects.
You can order online at...


YAQU PACHA Kaffee Don Roberto Coffee

Participation in politics

ecologia humana do oceano espirito santo legislativa politics

Our partners from ECOLOGIA HUMANA DO OCEANO from the Federal University of Espírito Santo in Brazil have been working on 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. Knowledge and cooperation with traditional fishermen is important to reduce dolphin bycatch. In the lectures, the results on the effects of marine litter on dolphins were also presented and discussed. We are pleased that our joint work is now also being noticed by the Brazilian government and is influencing laws for the protection of endangered dolphin species.

ecologia humana do oceano espirito santo brasil legislativa politics

YAQU PACHA Annual General Meeting

This year's YAQU PACHA Annual General Meeting took place on Friday, 26.05.2023 from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. in the Natural History House of Nuremberg Zoo and our biologists and members of the society also participated in the event via Zoom conference.

Dr. Lorenzo von Fersen 1st Chairman YAQU PACHA e.V. Annual General Meeting

Dr. Lorenzo von Fersen (1st Chairman of YAQU PACHA e.V.) led through the event. After a short introduction, our biologists from Latin America first reported on the work on their projects.

Prof. Eduardo Secchi Ecomega FURG Brazil Annual General Meeting Training Toronto Zoo

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. Particular attention is paid to cooperation with fishing communities and schools in order to reduce the bycatch of marine mammals in the long term and to intensify contact with fishermen. The aim of the project is also to integrate the topic of nature and species conservation into teaching in schools 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 animal species living there. Dr. Silvina Botta participated in a training session at Dr. Mastromonaco's world-renowned laboratory at the Toronto Zoo.

Dr. Lorenzo Rochas-Bracho Vaquita Annual General Meeting

Dr. Lorenzo Rojas-Bracho then reported on the work to protect the endangered vaquita. He presented the work of PESCA ABC, which uses alternative fishing methods to prevent bycatch of vaquitas. The Mexican government has also sunk heavy concrete blocks with metal hooks in the vaquitas' distribution area to prevent fishing in this area, as these metal hooks would destroy the nets. Obviously, this is already having a positive effect and fishermen seem to avoid these areas. In the last 3 weeks, Dr. Rojas-Bracho's team has again undertaken expeditions to count vaquitas and there have been sightings of animals again, which makes us feel positive.

Dr. Federico Sucunza Gemars Instituto Aqualie Annual General Meeting La Plata Delfin Franciscana Toninha

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, it can currently be assumed that there are about 30000 Franciscanas in Uruguay, where there is a very high mortality rate due to bycatch. To counteract this, we work together on the installation of acoustic signals, such as Pinger. Dr. Federico Sucunza also reported on our collaboration with the PROJETO PESCA team to test and establish a simple and cost-effective alternative to the pingers. It turns out that empty plastic bottles mounted in the nets are perceived by the dolphins, so that they avoid the nets. Initial tests were very successful.

Yurasi Briceño Venezuela Proyecto Sotalia Inia geoffrensis Manati YAQU PACHA

Afterwards, our biologist Yurasi Briceño from our partners PROYECTO SOTALIA reported on her work in the protection of the river dolphins Inia geoffensis and Sotalia and the manatees in Venezuela. The oil production in Lake Maracaibo and the extraction of gold with the help of 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 danger to humans via the food cycle. The work of Yurasi Briceño's team extends over many areas, such as regular population counts of the animals and an important area is also environmental education.

Lahille's Bottlenose dolphin Dr. Lorenzo von Fersen YAQU PACHA

Subsequently, Dr. von Fersen reported on the measures that are being carried out specifically to protect the endangered Lahille's bottlenose dolphin (Tursiops truncatus gephyreus) in Brazil.

Another focus of YAQU PACHA's work is capacity building, the development of competencies and the training and further education of our employees.

YAQU PACHA was also instrumental in setting up the Alliance for Franciscana Dolphin , which develops protection concepts 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 the main sponsor of this important science magazine since the beginning.

In 2022, YAQU PACHA was also the main sponsor of the 19th RT of SOLAMAC, the most important working meeting for biologists working on the protection of aquatic mammals in Latin America.

Dr. von Fersen also reported on the large international workshop Human Dimension in small Cetacean Conservation, which was organized and conducted by YAQU PACHA. A final final report will follow shortly.

Another important part of our work was the collaboration with the group ECOLOGIA HUMANA DO OCEANO, LED BY OUR BIOLOGIST Camilah Antunes Zappes in Brazil and whose focus is on the relationship between humans and the environment. The main area of responsibility of the group is environmental education in schools and kindergartens and communication with fishing communities.

Sandra Honigs (2nd Chairperson, YAQU PACHA e.V.) presented the work and activities of YAQU PACHA in Germany and Europe. At this point, we would like to thank all volunteers, without whose help our events and actions would not be possible.

Finally, Dr. Lorenzo von Fersen presented the new program YAQU PACHA for Diversity , which uses the example of Lahille's bottlenose dolphin (current population 600 animals) to show why it is so important to preserve and protect biodiversity.

The detailed minutes of the Annual General Meeting with all activities of our organization will soon be available here on our website.

Dolphin bycatch meeting in Nuremberg

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.

Bycatch Meeting Dolphins Nuremberg Zoo
Picture from left to right: Tim Hüttner, Ralph Simon, Daniel Stepputtis, Lorenzo von Fersen, Martin Böye, Enrique Crespo, Pedro Fruet, Boris Culik, Federico Sucunza (+ Thomas Noack)

Against this background, a small meeting with scientists from Germany, France, Brazil and Argentina took place at Nuremberg Zoo on the weekend of 6 and 7 May 2023. This meeting took place at the invitation of YAQU PACHA, which also covered the costs. The aim of this meeting was to analyse the methods currently used and to examine how and to what extent these methods can be applied to the bycatch problem in two regions. On the one hand, in France, where the focus is on industrial fishing, but where other coastal fisheries with gill nets also cause high bycatch rates of small whales.

Bycatch Dolphins Conference Nuremberg Zoo

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 methods for bycatch reduction.

Bycatch Franciscana Delfin Federico Sucunza

All participants agreed that both projects deserve the attention of experts and promised to work together in finding solutions. In the case of Franciscana in particular, a four-year project is now being worked on based on the weekend's discussions to test four different methods of bycatch reduction in a bycatch hotspot.
The first applications to raise the necessary funds have already been prepared. Another larger follow-up meeting is planned.

Fishermen in Brazil and the Toninha

Local ecological knowledge from 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 fishermen in the southwest Atlantic on the Toninha – Franciscana dolphin (Pontoporia blainvillei). The research team conducted interviews in ten fishing communities in southeastern and southern Brazil.

Interview Fischer Toninha Franciscana Brazil

Most fishermen fishing in the range of the Franciscana dolphin have not been able to identify this species. The fishermen who have recognized 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 for human consumption. These fishermen do not know any solutions to reduce the unintentional catch of Franciscana dolphins.

Interview Fischer Toninha Franciscana Brazil

The extent to which fishermen can identify the toninha and provide data about them depends on the direct encounters with the animals. Consequently, local knowledge is influenced by the presence of the species in the fishing grounds, the type of fishing gear used and the characteristics of the habitat (protected areas as opposed to the open sea). These conditions facilitate or complicate observation and contact with the Toninha, whose physical and behavioural characteristics already sufficiently limit their observation in the environment.

Interview Fischer Toninha Franciscana Brazil Pontoporia blainvillei

Fishermen's knowledge of the toninha was compared between the regions studied, and the researchers found that fishermen in the south of the country know the species better than fishermen in southeastern Brazil. The results of this study indicate that in the fishing communities studied, especially in the south-east of the country, where toninha is less well known, there is a need for awareness-raising measures for this species.

When conditions were favourable for recognizing the species, fishermen were able to determine its characteristics and provide information about interactions with fisheries. Local ecological knowledge thus proves to be a useful tool to collect data on the populations of the Franciscana dolphin that overlap with the fishing areas in the western South Atlantic.

Interview Fischer Toninha Franciscana Brazil Pontoporia blainvillei

Local Ecological Knowledge (LEK) has been proven to be invaluable for wildlife conservation, contributing to a holistic understanding of ecosystems, improving conservation planning and management, and promoting cultural preservation and strengthening of local communities. Integrating LEK with other scientific evidence creates a more inclusive and effective approach to species conservation that ensures the long-term well-being of both wildlife and local communities. Against this background, YAQU PACHA is increasing its commitment 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 blainvillei: Strategies for conservation

The study was funded by YAQU PACHA e.V.

Final report of the flight count in Uruguay

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 are also found in some bays and estuaries. The species is considered the most endangered dolphin species in South America, due to unintentional killing in artisanal and industrial fisheries, as well as increasing habitat destruction. In the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species , the Franciscana is currently classified as "vulnerable" and the National System of Protected Natural Areas (SNAP) in Uruguay considers it a priority species to be conserved. Four Franciscana Management Areas (FMA) have been proposed, of which FMA III in Rio Grande do Sul (southern Brazil) and on the Uruguayan coast has the highest bycatch estimates. In the past, Franciscana have been killed in relatively large numbers in Uruguay (almost 4000 animals between 1974 and 1993) and more recently in both Uruguay and Brazil (annual mortality of about 1000 – 2000 animals). Estimating the stock size in this region is therefore important to assess the potential impact of this high fishery-related mortality on the stock. So far, the stock has only been estimated in the Brazilian part of FMA III and no reliable estimates are available for Uruguayan waters.

Flight Count Franciscana La Plata Delfin Toninha Uruguay
From 01 March to 04 April 2023, aerial surveys were carried out in Uruguayan waters, supported by YAQU PACHA, to estimate the population of Franciscana dolphins and to 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).

Flight Count Franciscana La Plata Delfin Toninha Uruguay 2023

Three survey regions have been proposed: (i) Uruguayan offshore waters (30-50 m) (UY offshore stratum), (ii) Uruguayan coastal waters (0-30 m) (UY inshore layer) and (iii) Uruguayan estuary (UY-Río de la Plata layer). A total of 2629 km of transects were surveyed over a total area of 49,483 km2 and a total of 53 Franciscana groups with an average group size of 1.8 individuals were recorded. The total density was estimated at 0.606 individuals/km2 and the abundance for the entire area at 30,011 individuals (95% CI = 15,304 – 58,852). On the other hand, in the aerial surveys on the southern coast of Brazil (sector that is part of FMA III), a total area of 30,859 km2 was recorded, and the total density was estimated at 0.426 individuals/km2 and the abundance at 13,137 individuals (95% CI = 7,037 – 24,526). Although the high abundance estimated in this study for FMA III may indicate a healthy state of this stock, the bycatch estimates for FMA III were the highest among all FMAs. This is the first study to conduct a complete aerial survey in FMA III and to estimate 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 understanding the impact of bycatch and other sources of unrecorded mortality on the population dynamics of Franciscana dolphins living in Uruguayan waters.

Uruguayan research team: Valentina Franco-Trecu, Cecilia Passadore, Caterina Dimitriadis

Brazilian research team: Federico Sucunza, Daniel Danilewicz, Emanuel Ferreira, Martin S. Perez, Alexandre N. Zerbini

Volunteer in Brazil

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 of taking care of the welfare of animals on a daily basis, but also participating in research and science and sensitizing as many people as possible to the protection of these animal species in their habitat,
I communicate with visitors on a daily basis and explain to them the importance of in-situ and ex-situ conservation work. As the problems caused by human activities in the ocean continue to grow, it is becoming more important by the day to find new solutions to protect, help and conserve animal species.
But what about the projects we support on site every day?
I've been asking myself this question for some time. I wanted to see with my own eyes how the projects are implemented locally 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 the projects of YAQU PACHA are all about. I took part in an internship to get to know the various species conservation projects of YAQU PACHA and the daily work. The whole thing in cooperation 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 seabird species, pollution, strandings and anthropogenic waste, releases, necropsies, haematological / parasitological analyses or more about specific veterinary treatments such as ozone therapy or laser therapy.

cram furg Brazil Traineeship

In a second phase, I was placed in the Laboratory for Ecology and Conservation of Marine Fauna ECOMEGA FURG. There I was able to get to know the various studies and conservation projects, such as the Toninhas project for the Fransiscana dolphin or the Boto project for the Lahille's bottlenose dolphin.
I was allowed to accompany the team of the Boto project on their regular trips into the sea to monitor the population with photo identification and DNA samples.

Photo ID Bottlenose dolphin Brazil Volunteer
Twice a month, beach observations are also carried out, during which stranded animals are counted and various samples (teeth, organs, skin, skulls) are taken from dead animals, which are then analyzed and examined in the laboratory.
For example, I learned that you can study a whole range of biological parameters with a single dolphin tooth.

ecomega furg Brazil Traineeship
After several steps, we make thin toothed discs, which we can use to determine the age of the animal. By extracting material (dentin), we can also study 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 ECOMEGAto study these species, their life expectancy, their distribution, the use of their habitat, the size of their populations or even their habits and diet. Knowing them better will allow us to reinforce 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 returned from this volunteer with all the answers to my questions, with all the keys in my hand to share and pass on my new knowledge acquired on site with my colleagues and the visitors of the park. It was a very enriching experience, both personally and professionally.
I would like to thank everyone I got to know during this stay and thank you for your work. Thanks to the Team from YAQU PACHA for the trust placed in me.
Marie Labourier
"You protect what you love, and you love what you know." J. Cousteau

Whales and dolphins

We are pleased to present to you today the new book Whales and Dolphins by our friend Ralf Kiefner .

Whales and Dolphins Book Ralf Kiefner

Whales and dolphins are the most popular marine mammals and hardly anyone knows their fascinating world better than diver, author and photographer Ralf Kiefner. In his book, he now presents all 93 species – scientifically sound and easy to understand – with photos and drawings as well as detailed descriptions. The portraits provide information about behaviour, food and reproduction as well as distribution areas and hot spots for whale watching. Information on historical, cultural and mythological contexts and the endangerment of species rounds off the comprehensive nature guide.

Ralf Kiefner has been diving for 50 years. For more than 30 years, he has been working successfully as an author, wildlife and underwater photographer, cameraman and producer for television 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 colour photos, 229 colour illustrations

D: 42 EURO (A: 43.20 EURO, CH: 54.90 sFR)

Long-term study on humpback whales published

Humpback whales migrate to tropical waters with temperatures of 22 to 28 degrees Celsius to mate and give birth, where the warming of the oceans could now lead to a shift in their range. Using data from regional surveys and 20 years of observations in a tropical and subtropical breeding area off the coast of Ecuador, we show that although whales prefer the tropical breeding area off Esmeraldas, whale sightings in the cooler subtropical breeding area increase 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 the whales migrate further north.

Humpback whales Breeding area Ecuador Esmeraldas Manabi


Article Humpback whale Humpback whale Ecuador Judith Denkinger

YAQU PACHA has supported this work for many years and now this article has been published by Judith Denkinger.

Video about her work with humpback whales on YouTube

World Water Day in Düsseldorf

YAQU PACHA was yesterday together with the project h2eau for World Water Day at the Kunstraum Kö106 in Düsseldorf. We had set up an information booth and informed the visitors about our species conservation projects. Our friend Konny Zimmermann, together with his colleague Dirk, thrilled 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 equally to Viva con Agua and YAQU PACHA.

Lisa Schwarz and Sandra Honigs World Water Day Düsseldorf
Yaqu Pacha information booth World Water Day Düsseldorf
Project h2eau Water Music World Water Day Düsseldorf

YAQU PACHA at the EAAM Conference

YAQU PACHA participates in the EAAM meeting in Valencia, Spain and was instrumental in the organization of the Conservation Round Table. Dr. Lorenzo von Fersen will present our species conservation projects and also present our new campaign to protect the 600 last remaining Lahille's bottlenose dolphins.

Dr. Lorenzo von Fersen at the EAAM Conference in Valencia
EAAM Presentation Campaign Lahille's Bottlenose dolphin

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 presentation of the new campaign of YAQU PACHA to save the last 600 remaining Lahille's bottlenose dolphins.

Flight counts in Uruguay have begun

Last Saturday, the flight counts of Franciscana dolphins (Pontoporia blainvillei) began 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 for determining the population of La Plata dolphins in Uruguay.

Flight counts Uruguay
Flight counts Uruguay
Flight counts Uruguay Franciscana dolphins

You can find out how you can support us in this important project below.

World Water Day

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!
Save this date and we look forward to your visit.
The entrance fee is 10 euros and YAQU PACHA receives 50% of the entrance fees.

World Water Day Kunstraum Kö 106 Düsseldorf H2eau Project

Report from Brazil


In this report, we present the results of the projects and educational programs supported by YAQU PACHA in which YAQU PACHA supported 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 with a total of US$ 4609.96.
All of these projects will continue in 2023.

Project 1: Ethnobiology of the Guyana dolphin (Sotalia guianensis) in the state of Espírito Santo, southeastern Brazil

Report Brazil Sotalia Dolphin Ecologia Humana do Oceano

Project 2: Ethnobiology of the Franciscana dolphin (Pontoporia blainvillei) along the Brazilian coast

Report Brazil Franciscana delfin Ecologia Humana do Oceano

Project 3: Ocean in school

Brazil Ecologia Humana do Oceano Schools

Project 4: Digital Ocean and the Dissemination of Marine Literacy

Ecologia Humana do Oceano Brazil

Download and view the entire report as PDF: report_eco_hum_oceano_2022

Thank you Teddy Hermann

Teddy Hermann Donation

A very big thank you to Teddy Hermann for the great and long-standing support of our species conservation projects with the wonderful plush toys from the YAQU PACHA collection and the generous donation!
Only with your support can we successfully work to protect aquatic mammal species threatened with extinction.
Thank you very much for your support and your donation!
The plush toys from the Teddy Hermann YAQU PACHA collection can be found in the PROMOTION section

Teddy Hermann Seekuh Manati Manatee
Teddy Hermann Donation

Flight Counts – Aerial Survey – Your Donation Counts

Created using the Donation Thermometer plugin https://wordpress.org/plugins/donation-thermometer/.EUR43.000Raised EUR35.000 towards the EUR43.000 target.EUR35.000Raised EUR35.000 towards the EUR43.000 target.81%

Help us with your donation | In the context of species conservation, aerial surveys are a proven method for estimating the population of a population. This is especially true for dolphin species. Basically, it is about the use of aircraft that fly at low altitude and from which human observers can see and count the animals they see in the sea.

Aerial Survey Toninhas plane plane plane

In the past, YAQU PACHA has already supported aerial survey Toninhas in Brazil and Argentina in estimating the population of the endangered La Plata dolphins – Franciscana – Toninhas. So far, there is only a gap in population assessment in Uruguay. 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 Survey Toninhas Team YAQU PACHA Uruguay La Plata Dolphin Franciscana Donation

Aerial surveys are very expensive. They are carried out by companies that rent out aircraft.
One hour of aerial survey Toninhas costs 1000 EURO. A total of 43 flight hours are planned, which means that the entire project will cost 43000 EURO.
Thanks to various non-governmental organizations and other sponsors such as Nuremberg Zoo and Verein der Tiergartenfreunde Nürnberg e.V. , 35000 EURO have already been collected, i.e. we still have 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 conservation efforts in Europe to save this dolphin species.

Aerial Survey Toninhas Franciscana La Plata Dolphin Donation

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 add you to 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 Nürnberg
Reference: Donate flight count and please include your name and address in the transfer and mention yes or no and if necessary. Your Internet address

Thank you very much for your support and your donation!

Aerial Survey Toninhas Franciscana Uruguay La Plata Delfin Toninha Donation Donate

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

List of supporters of this project:
Nuremberg Zoo
Verein der Tiergartenfreunde Nürnberg e.V.
IWC Scientific Committee Research Fund
Instituto Aqualie

Support us | 30 years of YAQU PACHA e.V. | What does species conservation mean | Project La Plata Delfin | La Plata Dolphin | Environmental Education | ARENAS | YAQU PACHA Team Germany

Partnership to be continued

At boot Düsseldorf 2023, YAQU PACHA and the companies MARES – just add water, Kallweit and Scubapro agreed to continue their partnership, which has been going on for years.
Thank you very much for supporting our species conservation projects and your many years of loyalty!

Partnership Species Conservation YAQU PACHA MARES Kallweit Scubapro boot Düsseldorf

For many years, YAQU PACHA also had a booth at boot and we plan to be present again next year with our own booth at the boot trade fair in Düsseldorf to inform visitors about our work in species conservation.
Dr. Lorenzo von Fersen (1st Chairman of 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.

Our Partners | 30 years of YAQU PACHA e.V. | Protection of endangered species

Animal species that YAQU PACHA is working to protect

YAQU PACHA e.V. has been active as a species conservation organization in South America and Latin America for 30 years. We are now working on the protection of 9 endangered aquatic mammal species in 6 countries in Latin America together with various partners.

Species Conservation Organization YAQU PACHA South America Latin America Dolphins Manatee Manatee Seals Mammal Species Conservation

We are currently working on species conservation in South America on the protection of the following endangered mammal species. At Lahille's bottlenose dolphins in the Lagoa dos Patos in Brazil. With the Manati project in Brazil and Venezuela. The La Plata Delfin Franciscana project covers Brazil, Uruguay and Argentina. The Amazon Dolphin and Sotalia projects are being implemented in Brazil and Venezuela. Our maned seal project covers the entire distribution area of this species. The marine otter project Lontra felina is carried out in Peru and together with YAQU PACHA Chile we are working on the protection of Chilean dolphins 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 support.
Thank you very much!

Tasks and Goals | Team Germany | 30 years of YAQU PACHA e.V. | Environmental Education

Successful WorkShop – Happy Faces

A group picture of our large WorkShop "HUMAN DIMENSION in small CETACEAN CONSERVATION"
Once again, many thanks to all participants who made this species conservation meeting a successful event.

HUMAN DIMENSION in small CETACEAN CONSERVATION Species Conservation South America Group Workshop

We would like to thank the Nuremberg Zoo, the Verein der Tiergartenfreunde Nürnberg, the Aquazoo Löbbecke Museum Düsseldorf, the Heidelberg Zoo, the Duisburg Zoo, Planète Sauvage and Rancho Texas Lanzarote Park for their support.

Species conservation

Summary of a successful workshop

Yesterday was our last day at WorkShop. For five days, more than 30 experts from 15 countries discussed how the human dimension can be applied to the conservation of dolphins and small cetaceans. Our main goal with this WorkShop was to expand the concept of integrated species conservation by involving people, especially those who share their environment with endangered species. To achieve this goal, we invited field biologists as well as experts such as psychologists, sociologists, anthropologists, tourism experts as well as business and communication experts. Together we exchanged 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 could be endangered, especially by human activities.

We would like to thank the Nuremberg Zoo, the Associationof Zoo Friends Nuremberg e.V., the Aquazoo Düsseldorf, the Heidelberg Zoo, the Duisburg Zoo, Planete Sauvage and Rancho Texas Lanzarote for their support.

Workshop Species Conservation Conference Conference
Workshop Nuremberg Heilsbronn Species Conservation Conference
Workshop Nuremberg Heilsbonn Species Conservation Conference 2022

YAQU PACHA and Species Conservation in South America – Latin America | Conferences and Workshops | 30 years of YAQU PACHA e.V. | Report on our workshop day 2 | News from our workshop


Report on our WorkShop Day 2

On Saturday, the threat status of 5 dolphin species, which YAQU PACHA is working to protect, was discussed at our Species Conservation WorkShop and there were several interesting lectures on the subject.
Dr. Lorenzo Rojas-Bracho gave a lecture on the endangered vaquita.
Professor Eduardo Secchi informed about the status of the Franciscana dolphin (Pontoporia blainvillei) and about the Lahille's bottlenose dolphins in the Lagoa dos Patos in Brazil.
Fernando Trujillo then informed about the threat status of Inia geoffrensis, the Amazon dolphin and Sotalia dolphins, which live 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.

Species Conservation Dolphins South America Human Dimension
Fernando Trujillo Omacha Species Conservation Dolphins South America
Workshop Species Conservation Dolphins South America
Workshop Species Conservation Dolphins South America Human Dimension
Workshop Presentation Dolphins Human Dimension
Eduardo Secchi Workshop Dolphins South America Human Dimension

News from our workshop | Summary of a successful workshop | Conferences and Workshops | YAQU PACHA Calendar | Project Robben | 30 years of YAQU PACHA e.V.

News from our WorkShop

Yesterday evening, Dr. Lorenzo von Fersen, first chairman of our species conservation organization, opened the international workshop "Human Dimension in small Cetacean Conservation". 34 experts from different disciplines will meet in Heilsbronn until December 21 to exchange experiences and develop new strategies.
Many of our biologists from South America participate in this important workshop and there is a lively exchange of experiences and there are many interesting lectures on this topic.
The workshop was organized and financed by YAQU PACHA, because it is extremely important to interest and motivate people in species conservation in order to make a contribution themselves.
Be it only through financial support.
All our species conservation projects are financed by donations and membership fees and since we all work on a voluntary basis, 100% of all funds go to our projects in Latin America.
Of course, we will continue to report on the workshop and then present the results.

Dr. Lorenzo von Fersen YAQU PACHA Workshop
Eduardo Secchi Workshop Species Conservation South America
Workshop News
Workshop Participants Species Conservation
Participants Human Dimension in small Cetacean Conservation

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

Scientific Advisory Board | Report on our workshop day 2 | Summary of a successful workshop | Conferences and Workshops | 30 years of YAQU PACHA e.V.

YAQU PACHA Chile with Project NAVEGA in Schools

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.



Workshop, organized by YAQU PACHA e.V.

Workshop yaqu pacha Human Dimension in small Cetacean Conseration

For decades, YAQU PACHA e.V. has been developing programs to raise people's awareness of the protection of biodiversity. This work is now to be intensified with the workshop "Human Dimensions of small Cetacean Conservation". Through a transdisciplinary approach with the participation of biologists, psychologists, sociologists, anthropologists, economists and communication experts, concepts are to be developed to make integrated species conservation sustainable through human participation. The workshop will take place from 16 to 20 December. In the course of these days, we will try to pass on current findings to members and interested parties.

Skilled Worker Training, Pantanal 2022

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 Working with Wildlife, 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 taking samples, clinical evaluation and field monitoring of various wildlife species, to in-depth discussion about animal health.
In addition, this meeting of various professionals working in conservation in Latin America was a place to discuss ideas, exchange knowledge and experiences to develop and strengthen strategies that address all the problems that arise in conservation medicine today.

Professionals Training Pantanal
Professionals Training Pantanal 2022

International Stop ByCatch Day

Today is International Stop Bycatch Day and Yaqu Pacha continuously works with fishermen and partners to reduce bycatch of marine mammals through fishing activities.
Yaqu Pacha understands that fishing is important for local fishermen and communities to support their daily lives.
That's why we work closely with fishermen and fishing communities to find solutions to reduce bycatch.

Stop ByCatch Day
Stop ByCatch Day Dolphins

Hormone analysis in marine mammals

Dr. Silvina Botta of ECOMEGA FURG, our partners in Brazil, is currently visiting the Endocrinology Laboratory 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 analysed in samples of Lachille bottlenose dolphins from ECOMEGA FURG and PROJETO BOTOS. The samples were obtained from the dental dentin using the automated MicroMill drilling system on the ECOMEGA FURG. The main goal is to link stress hormone levels to environmental factors such as changes in prey availability or deteriorating habitat conditions.


20 years of Yaqu Pacha Chile

Congratulations also from our side and we would also like to take this opportunity to thank you for the great cooperation with our biologists on site over the 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 on this can also be found on the website of Yaqu Pacha Chile...


Scientific article about the Franciscana dolphin

There is a new publication by our biologist Professor Eduardo Secchi along with other scientists about 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 merge long-term databases on strandings.
This work is fundamental for 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 the release of LAJAM from the very beginning.
Publisher: Sociedad Latinoamericana de Especialistas en Mamíferos Acuáticos – SOLAMAC


The new LAJAM Journal is here

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 very beginning. In this issue there is, among other things, a publication by our biologist Prof. Eduardo Secchi about the La Plata dolphin.

The publisher is
Sociedad Latinoamericana de Especialistas en Mamíferos Acuáticos – SOLAMAC

30 years of YAQU PACHA e.V. at Duisburg Zoo and Aquazoo Düsseldorf

Some impressions of the 30 years of Yaqu Pacha e.V. member meeting at Duisburg Zoo
We met in the morning at the zoo and were greeted there and guided through the zoo and there was detailed and interesting information about the animals.
In the afternoon, the Yaqu Pacha members met at the Aquazoo Löbbecke Museum Düsseldorf, where Dr. Lorenzo von Fersen (founder and 1st chairman of Yaqu Pacha) then reported on 30 years of Yaqu Pacha e.V. and 30 years of species conservation in Latin America.
The day ended with a joint dinner and many nice conversations.
At this point, many thanks to the Duisburg Zoo 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 in which we can work to protect endangered aquatic mammal species.



30 years of YAQU PACHA e.V.

30 years of species conservation organization YAQU PACHA e.V. – 30 years of species conservation in South America and Dr. Lorenzo von Fersen (1st chairman and founder of Yaqu Pacha) gave a lecture at the Aquazoo Löbbecke Museum Düsseldorf about our 30 years of work in nature conservation and the protection of endangered aquatic mammal species in Latin America.
Many members and interested parties came to the event and followed with interest how it all began and what we have achieved and been able to achieve in the 30 years with our species conservation organization.
At this point, a very big 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 endangered aquatic mammal species in South America – Latin America.

30 years of the species conservation organization YAQU PACHA
Species conservation | Our partners | Animal species that YAQU PACHA is working to protect | Team Germany | Sea Otter | Project Robben | Tasks and objectives

Proyecto Sotalia and the Day of the River Dolphins

On the occasion of the International Day of River Dolphins, our partners Proyecto Sotalia had an information event in Venezuela.
Many interested people came to this event and our biologist Yurasi Briceño reported on the work on the protection of dolphins and our activities in Venezuela.
There was also a photo exhibition with photographs by various photographers and biologists.
There was also something on offer for children and they were happy and interested.
At this point, many thanks to our partners from Proyecto Sotalia for the great work in Venezuela.


Species Conservation Day at Aquazoo Düsseldorf

Yaqu Pacha at the Species Conservation Day at the Aquazoo Löbbecke Museum Düsseldorf
Many visitors came to the Species Conservation Day and the Yaqu Pacha team informed the visitors about our projects in Latin America. Particular 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

19th RT in Brazil, Yaqu Pacha is the main sponsor of the event

The 19th Workshop 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 took place with the main sponsorship of YAQU PACHA.

The presentations of the projects and the support of the town hall of Mata de São João was terrific.
The event, which took place from 11 to 15 September, brought together the leading experts on aquatic mammals in Latin America. In total, there were 245 participants, 10 different countries, 294 presentations and several exhibitors.


Species Conservation Day at Duisburg Zoo

Yaqu Pacha was at the Species Conservation Day at Duisburg Zoo and informed the visitors about our species conservation projects in South America
From left to right... Lisa Schwarz, Sandra Honigs, Sebastian Schnock

Aquatic Mammal Congress in Palm Beach

One of the main objectives of YAQU PACHA is to provide educational opportunities for Latin American students and professionals. We are convinced that this will prepare these people to be the leading scientists in their home countries and that this is the best basis for a successful and sustainable science culture.
In recent years, YAQU PACHA has offered targeted funding programs to not only enable students, biologists and veterinarians to learn new research methods, but also to build a network that helps 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. Their participation and training were paid for by YAQU PACHA.


Skilled Worker Training, Sarasota, May 2022

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 and worked in or on the waters of Sarasota Bay and surrounding areas with wild dolphins.
On this occasion, I was able to deepen my knowledge in dolphin population health assessment through special clinical examinations, ultrasound, sample collection and processing, analysis of physiological processes, and additional methods for identifying and capturing small whale populations. I would like to apply all this in my work in South America with the endangered river dolphins.
The Omacha Foundation has been committed to its protection and that of aquatic ecosystems for about 30 years, but there is an urgent need to use new conservation medicine techniques to address the new challenges posed by emerging diseases and new threats that can affect this species and its ecosystems.
This space has also been a place of exchange of experience and knowledge with various institutions such as the National Foundation for Marine Mammals, where new alliances have been created for joint work in Colombia.