14 September 2007

What has been the greatest success of your engagement?

(one of a series of questions posed to the Tethys president during a recent interview)

I wish I could say actual protection of the animals I have been studying, but this would be far too optimistic.

A Marine Protected Area has been created recently with the intention of protecting bottlenose dolphins around Losinj, 16 years after our initial proposal. But I wonder if the animals there have noticed.

Kalamos has become an Area of Community Importance (Natura 2000) and common dolphins living there make the theoretical conservation targets of international agreements and recommendations. But the dolphins certainly haven’t noticed.

I did my best to promote dolphin conservation in several Mediterranean areas, but has anything happened? At best, I may have contributed to a microscopic increase in public and institutional awareness. Maybe.

So, perhaps the greatest success of my engagement has been influencing the choices of a number of young people and students, who eventually decided to devote their life to cetacean research and conservation. Several excellent people around me claim to have been inspired by my own work (as much as I myself have been - and still am - inspired by the work of my mentors). This makes me proud, and gives a meaning to what I am doing.

In addition, I’m happy to have been working with the Tehys Research Institute for two decades, giving my share to let this ship navigate over troubled waters in a rather hostile Italian reality.

Giovanni Bearzi

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