Via dolphin mentoring

After so many years training dolphins, some time ago during a training session, I stood up and looked around thought if only I could create a program to make a session easier, for the animals and for the trainers.

I thought that showing people how I used Operant Condition (positive reinforcement) would be a good opportunity to create a program much easier to understand and less complicated for all trainers. This would also ensure fair treatment of the animals by less experienced trainers, who could then use positive training techniques to achieve quicker results.

I realised that the process of learning so many techniques could be daunting for students, but with my help in explaining how they can build, using small steps at time, they will be successful. Many students don’t make it, due lack of patience, frustration, uncertainty, but with my mentoring program they will be more relaxed and be able to glide through my trainer’s training process.

As we already know the fittest, strongest animal is the one leading!!

A new trainer’s program would not be complete without noting the importance of them having a healthy life style to ensure they were fit enough to keep up with their demanding career.

My personal trainer has linked with Via Dolphin and has devised dietary information to assist trainers in getting all the nutrients they need, workout advise for optimum results, so they can keep healthy and strong and even suggested supplements that can assist with a healthy balanced diet.

We have launched a Trainers Fitness program to ease a trainers hectic daily life style.

 

For more information visit our FaceBook page @

https://www.facebook.com/viadolphinmentoring/?modal=admin_todo_tour

 

 

Endocrine disruptions found in bottle nose dolphins

Bottlenose dolphins are being exposed to chemical compounds added to many common cleaning products, cosmetics, personal care products and plastics, according to a new study in GeoHealth, a journal of the American Geophysical Union.

The new research found evidence of exposure to these chemical compounds, called phthalates, in 71 percent of dolphins tested in Sarasota Bay, Florida during 2016 and 2017. Previous studies detected phthalate metabolites in the blubber or skin of a few individual marine mammals, but the new study is the first to document the additives in the urine of wild marine mammals.

Some phthalates have been linked to hormonal, metabolic and reproductive problems in humans, including low sperm count and abnormal development of reproductive organs. The study’s authors do not know what health impacts phthalate compounds may have on dolphins, but the presence of byproducts of the chemicals in the animals’ urine indicates they have remained in the body long enough to process them.

“We focused on urine in dolphins because, in previous studies of humans, that has been the most reliable matrix to indicate short-term exposure.” said Leslie Hart, a public health professor at the College of Charleston and the lead author of the new study.

Studies have linked human exposure to phthalates with use of products containing these additives, such as personal care products and cosmetics, but Hart said the source of dolphin exposure to phthalates is not yet known. Elevated concentrations in dolphin urine of a specific phthalate compound most commonly added to plastics hinted at plastic waste as a possible source of exposure for the dolphins, she said.

“These chemicals can enter marine waters from urban runoff and agricultural or industrial emissions, but we also know that there is a lot of plastic pollution in the environment” said Hart.

Understanding exposure in dolphins gives scientists insight into the contaminants in local waters and what other animals, including humans, are being exposed to, according to the study’s authors.

Gina Ylitalo, an analytical chemist at NOAA’s Northwest Fisheries Science Center who was not involved in the study, said dolphins are good indicators of what is going on in coastal waters.

“Any animals in the near shore environment with similar prey are probably being exposed as well,” she said. “The dolphins are great sentinels of the marine environment.”

Ubiquitous contaminants

Phthalate compounds are added to a wide variety of products to confer flexibility, durability, and lubrication. Some phthalates interfere with body systems designed to receive messages from hormones such as estrogen and testosterone. This can disrupt natural responses to these hormone signals.

Tests for phthalate exposure look for metabolites of the compounds, the products of initial breakdown of the compounds by the liver.

“We are looking for metabolites. These are indicators that the dolphins have been exposed somewhere in their environment and that the body has started to process them,” Hart said.

About 160 dolphins live in Sarasota Bay, a subtropical coastal lagoon tucked between barrier islands and the cities of Sarasota and Bradenton on the southwest coast of Florida. The Chicago Zoological Society’s Sarasota Dolphin Research Program has tracked individual dolphins since 1970, monitoring their health, behavior, and exposure to contaminants. The dolphins are residents of the area year-round, across multiple decades, with individuals living up to 67 years.

In 2016 and 2017, Hart and her colleagues tested the urine of 17 wild dolphins in and around Sarasota Bay for nine phthalates. They found phthalate metabolites in the urine of 71 percent of the dolphins tested.

Hart compared the dolphin data to human data from the CDC’s National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES), which includes information about behavior and diet as well as blood and urine samples from a large cross section of the U.S. population. She found concentrations of one type of phthalate metabolite, monoethyl phthalate (MEP), were much lower in dolphins than in the human population surveyed by NHANES, but concentrations of another type of phthalate metabolite, mono-(2-ethylhexyl) phthalate (MEHP), were equivalent or higher to the levels found in humans.

“If you look at the primary uses of the parent compounds, MEP’s parent is commonly used in cosmetics and personal care products including shampoos and body wash, whereas MEHP is a metabolite of a compound commonly added to plastic,” Hart said.

Indicator species

Understanding what dolphins are exposed to gives researchers and the public a better idea of what is in the environment.

The study is particularly valuable because of the long-term data available on the Sarasota dolphins’ health and behavior, said Ylitalo. Bottlenose dolphins are good indicators of pollutant exposure in whales and dolphins that can’t be easily sampled.

“We will not be getting urine samples from killer whales in my neck of the woods,” Ylitalo said. “They don’t know what the health effects are yet, but if any group can do it, it will be these type of folks who start teasing it out.”

Documenting exposure was an important first step, Hart said. She wants to expand the sample size to continue investigating the extent and potential health impacts of exposure and start tracking down possible sources. Ultimately, she hopes this research could be used to help curtail the sources of contamination.

“We’ve introduced these chemicals, they are not natural toxins, and we have the ability to reverse it, to clean this up.” Hart said.

 

source

www.sciencedaily.com

Scientists use drone to sample whale breath and snot To study the microbiome of humpback whales

Scientists flew a small drone over the blowhole of a few humpback whales in the US and Canada to collect the microbes living inside their breath. Sampling the community of microbes and bacteria living inside whales, called the microbiome, can help us better understand what makes a healthy whale, and what happens when a whale gets sick.

In the new research, published this week in the journal mSystems, scientists describe 25 species of microbes found in each humpback’s breath they sampled. Though they don’t know how exactly these organisms affect the health of the whales yet, many of the same microbes are often found in other marine mammals, suggesting they play a role in keeping the animals healthy. The study is also the latest example of how drones can help scientists in their quest to conserve species: in Hawaii, botanists are also using drones to hunt down rare plants in hard-to-reach places like cliffs.

drone2 (1)

Just like humans, animals have a microcosm of organisms inhabiting their bodies — which help keep them healthy. While we’re just starting to explore the human microbiome and its functions, very little is known about the microbiome of whales, especially inside their breathing organs, where a lot of infections occur. So researchers decided to sample the spray of water and snot coming out of the hole atop the whale heads, which the animals use to breathe at the surface.

Usually, whale breath is collected by approaching the animals — which can be up to 60 feet long, in the case of humpbacks — with a small boat, and then holding 23-foot pole with a collection plate above the blowhole. That’s obviously time-consuming and dangerous — for people and whales. In search for a better method, scientists used a remote-controlled hexacopter equipped with a petri dish. They then flew it a few feet over the blowhole of 26 healthy humpback whales off the coast of Cape Cod in the Atlantic Ocean and Vancouver Island in the Pacific.

dronewhale

The researchers found 25 species of microbes in the breath of all whales, including 20 that were previously found in other marine mammals. That suggests that those organisms are connected to the creatures’ respiratory health, according to the study, although it’s not exactly clear how. But understanding what makes the microbiome of a healthy whale can help us monitor their health, identify dangerous pathogens in the future, and possibly understand how pollutants in the water can affect whales.

That’s key for their conservation. A number of large whales are listed as endangered or critically endangered, including some humpback whale populations off the coast of northwest Africa and Central America.

Sourse: http://www.theverge.com
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