Sometimes no matter how much love, care and medical attention you give an injured dolphin, it’s never enough to get it suitably strong and healthy to return to the wild and fend for itself. And when that happens, the Dolphin Research Center in Grassy Key, Florida comes to the rescue!
The Dolphin Research Center takes care of marine mammals too sick to return to the wild.
Founded in 1984 by husband and wife duo Jayne Shannon-Rodriguez and Armando “Mandy” Rodriguez, the non-profit organization goes out of their way to help distressed marine mammals in the surrounding waters of the Keys.
For decades, the Dolphin Research Center has been the Southernmost member of the Mammal Stranding Network, rescuing, treating and providing long-term care for huge numbers dolphins, whales and sea lions since opening.
Recently, the couple has even extended their rescue commitment to include the endangered manatee, and their facility is currently the only one in the Florida Keys licensed by the Federal Government to help manatees in distress.
Whenever a dolphin or sea lion has been rescued by another organization and is simply too sick or injured to be returned to the wild, Jayne and Mandy provide them with outstanding care at their center.
Not only do Jayne and Mandy assist and take care of these animals, they also teach everything they’ve learned to the public to promote a peaceful coexistence, communication and cooperation between humans, marine life and the environment we all share.
The history of marine mammal research only goes back about 40 years – that barely covers the lifespan of just one dolphin! Since so little is known about this incredible species, the Dolphin Research Center lives up to its name and does amazing research every day to uncover the true scope of the capabilities, intelligence and needs of these animals.
The Dolphin Center and its staff are just as committed today as they were more than 30 years ago when it all began.
What started out as a tiny conservation project has boomed to become an international environmentally-friendly tourist destination with more than 70,000 visitors each year.
Proceeds help fund the top quality fish, excellent care and comfortable habitats the animals need to live happy, fulfilling lives.
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NICOLA QUINN is a British freelance writer based on the island of Tenerife in the Canary Islands. During the week she knuckles down and gets the job done, but on the weekend she spends her time soaking up the sunshine on the little volcanic island she calls home.