Health Assessment Project on Free-Ranging Dolphins in the Gulf of Mexico
IAAAM 2016
Leonardo Ibarra Vargus
Dolphinaris, Cancún, México


The health assessment project has been taking place in the Mexican southern portion of the Gulf of Mexico. This ecosystem is one of the largest natural wetland reserves in Mexico, and the population of bottlenose dolphins in this area is considered to be one of the largest and most studied concentrations of dolphins in the country. Since it is known that dolphins, among other charismatic marine mammals, are a sentinel species of the oceans and human health, the objective of this project is to perform a health assessment by collecting samples from them. Many harmful elements that may have possible impacts on the ecosystems will remain in their bodies permanently, so by understanding this and knowing their health status, we can indirectly assume the health status of the ecosystem. The knowledge acquired by working with dolphins maintained in human care allows veterinarians, researchers, and specialists to develop proper techniques for their correct handling and sample collection. The development and adaptation of diagnostic techniques in marine mammal medicine are one of the greatest contributions to conservation; and the only way to develop such advances is by knowing and coexisting with individuals under human care.


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Leonardo Ibarra Vargus
CancĂșn, MĂ©xico

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