May 13, 2010

Dophins in Peru: A biologist sees tourism as the way to conservation

While killing dolphins for their meat was made illegal in Peru in 1996, you can still find dolphin meat for as cheap as four soles per kilo in the black market. “Now, fishermen don’t touch the bottlenose dolphin, they hunt the darker dolphins instead,” says the German biologist Stefan Austermühle. “Once offshore, they cut out the meat in the ship’s hold and throw the bodies back in the sea to get rid of the evidence.” Austermühle has identified more than 1,500 dolphins off Peru's coast between Chorrillos and Paracas. (He also takes the amazing photos, shown above.) With an NGO formed with his Peruvian wife, they hope to start dolphin watching as a option for tourists and a strategy for dolphin conservation.