Atlantis, Paradise Island is furthering its work to understand, care for and protect marine life through a strategic partnership with the University of Miami through its Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science. Now in its second year, the partnership features a marine mammal based course at the graduate level that is taught at Atlantis’ 14-acre marine mammal habitat -Dolphin Cay. “We’ve partnered up with the Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science – they are probably the #1 marine science school in the United States – and we teach an involved and very concentrated two-week intersession course here called Behaviour Analysis and Manage Care for Marine Mammals,” explains Ted Turner, Vice President of Operations at Dolphin Cay, touting the success of the programme’s first two years.
“It deals with animal behavior, animal care, marine mammal facilities and legislation involving the protection of marine mammals in both The Bahamas and the United States… We do lectures paired with practicums, which are hands-on experiences that enable them to learn about this business so that we can advance the scientific understanding of marine mammals throughout the world,” he added. The course, which runs between the Spring and Summer semesters, gives its participants three full credits. According to Turner, not only does the programme help advance the work Atlantis does where marine mammal care is concerned, it also legitimizes it. “These programmes,” he said, “are absolutely essential in teaching the general public that marine mammals and all marine animals should be protected and enjoyed and that respectful wildlife watching and the advancement of the science about these animals should be important for future generations… Because of these students are at the graduate level, they usually move on to positions in government or positions in federal or statewide agencies that make them movers and shakers for future wildlife policies.” A maximum total of six UM graduate students are permitted to take part in the programme each year.