Fundraising appeal to rebuild Tenerife marine conservation research centre and educational hub after fire

written by Oceanographic Staff

Dolphin House, the Tenerife research centre of the Atlantic Whale and Dolphin Foundation (AWDF) has been destroyed by a fire, which took place on January 29th. Nobody was injured.

The AWDF has used the research centre in Arona, Tenerife, for the past 25 years as the focal hub for their for whale and dolphin conservation and research in the Atlantic Ocean, but also as an education hub that has hosted more than 15,000 volunteers since 1994. The AWDF also works with disadvantaged young people across Europe to give them an opportunity to learn, travel and find their passion for conservation.

The AWDF runs cetacean educational, research and conservation programmes, providing a blend of citizen science programmes for young people and running more in-depth research into cetacean behaviour. The AWDF also works with the tourism industry, promoting cetacean conservation, responsible whale watching and other eco-tourism opportunities across the Atlantic. ​Additionally, it oversees the Atlantic Ocean Cetacean Network (AOCN) in collaboration with the Tenerife whale watching industry, and a range of awards and grants aimed at facilitating cetacean programmes in the Canary Islands.

“This has been a very difficult week, one of the most devastating of my life. I believe that all young people, no matter their backgrounds or finances, should have the opportunity to give themselves to the common good, to learn what there is in life to enjoy in life,” said Ed Bentham, founding trustee of the AWDF in the emergency appeal video posted online on February 3rd. “When I founded the Atlantic Whale and Dolphin Foundation it was to give young people that opportunity, the chance to get out and see what was out there, and talk with other people around the world and get a sense of what they can do with their lives, and change their lives. That’s what the foundation was built on.”

Throughout the past 15 years, the AWDF has build world class research databases covering resident short finned pilot whales, resident bottlenose dolphins and migrating species sighted off the south western coast of Tenerife. It’s conducted numerous studies into cetacean acoustics, behaviours and tracking resident pods.

The fundraising target is £245,000, which will ensure that they can remove the remains and rebuild Dolphin House with a new kitchen, bedrooms and washing facilities, and a revived research centre reequipped with cameras, computers, learning resources, library and activities equipment.

To show your support for the AWDF fundraiser, click here.

Image by Ocean Image Bank – Michele Roux.

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