Dolphin Sanctuary

Dolphin Sanctuary on Aljazeera on StarSat

Dolphin Sanctuary

Part of the Women Make Science feature

Anastasia Miliou has often dreamed of settling down on some remote island and having ten kids, but spotting dolphins reminds her of the importance of her work. This hydro biologist has a lot on her plate. She’s the scientific director of the biggest NGO of its kind: the Archipelagos Institute of Marine Conservation. The institute has a lot of responsibilities, chief among them studying marine life and conservation efforts. Under Anastasia’s watchful eye, one of their most ambitious projects is now underway: Building a haven for dolphins and turtles.

Anastasia is very passionate about dolphins. When it became clear that they needed help, she rolled up her sleeves and got to work. She wanted a place that would not only treat and rehabilitate injured dolphins but also give them a home when they have nowhere left to go. Dolphinariums all over Europe are rapidly closing due to public pressure leaving their captive dolphins without a home and ill-prepared for life in the wild. If they just released them, they would almost certainly perish.

The Aegean Wildlife Sanctuary is her answer. Located on a pristine and barely inhabited part of the small Greek island of Lipsi, this twelve-hectare inlet is perfect for the job. The sanctuary also serves as a base of operations for the Archipelagos Institute of Marine Conservation. From here they’re studying local dolphin populations and the impact of microplastics on the local marine wildlife.

Building such a sanctuary is no easy feat. Besides all the paperwork, the team must also ensure that the environment is fit for purpose. That includes removing all human junk from the area, planting seagrass for the dolphin’s prey to eat and protecting the site against poachers. They also need to build a research facility to house all the researchers and getting the building materials on site is its own set of problems.

The biggest problem they have, however, is funding. Without it, the whole project comes to a screeching halt. One of Anastasia’s many responsibilities is securing funds for the project through fundraising campaigns which have been an uphill battle from the get-go.

Watch how Anastasia and her massive team of young researchers go about building a refuge for the smartest creatures under the sea. It’s a fascinating look into all that goes on in such an important project.

From Wednesday the 17th of September at 05:30 AM on Aljazeera (ch 257)

Also on the:
18th of September at 06:30 PM; and
19th of September at 07:30 PM

Author: Jan Hendrik Harmse