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Lipsi Sanctuary to Offer Rescued Dolphins a Safe Home

Lipsi, Dodecanese. Photo: Maria Theofanopoulou

The Dodecanese island of Lipsi will soon be home to dozens of dolphins rescued from captivity on the initiative of the Archipelagos Institute of Marine Conservation (AIMC).

According to the AIMC, the Lipsi refuge is the world’s first permanent sanctuary for dolphins rescued from captivity offering safety and care to stranded, injured and formerly captive dolphins as well as other marine animals.

The refuge comes within the AIMC’s efforts to put an end to the exploitation of dolphins at zoos, marine parks and hotels worldwide.

“We decided to create the world’s first marine life sanctuary in the Aegean, with the aim to achieve a great goal, while at the same time honoring ancient Greek legacy as the first country to protect dolphins by law over 2,500 years ago,” said AIMC research director Anastasia Miliou.

It should be noted that harming or killing a dolphin in ancient Greece was considered a crime and punishable by death.

Photo: Archipelagos / M. Corrochano

Photo: Archipelagos / M. Corrochano

The sanctuary is located in the narrow gulf of Vroulia Bay, where the dolphins will be able to regain their hunter instincts so that they can later be returned to their natural habitat.

“There are currently 2,913 dolphins in captivity worldwide,” said Miliou, adding that the goal is for the sanctuary in Lipsi to serve as a model for others to follow.

Lipsi, Dodecanese. Photo © Maria Theofanopoulou / Galleas Georgios Apartments

Speaking to Praktoreio FM, Miliou said work on the refuge began six years ago, after a great deal of research into the adequate location. “If everything goes well, a veterinary clinic and relevant infrastructure and licensing will be completed so that we can proceed and host dolphins released from captivity early next year.”

Approximately 20 scientists and researchers will be on hand to offer care to injured dolphins, sea mammals or turtles.

It should be noted, that the ancient Greeks were very fond of dolphins which featured prominently in Greek mythology and were viewed to be a good omen and a symbol of friendship and hospitality.

Miliou expressed her optimism that all the more people are gaining awareness of the abuse involved in marine park and zoo shows and are avoiding such entertainment choices.

Founded in 1998, the AIMC is a non-profit, non-governmental organization researching and defending the biodiversity of the Greek seas.

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