British Divers Marine Life Rescue
British Divers Marine Life Rescue (photo: Steve Marsh)
British Divers Marine Rescue


2010-10-04 13:47:51

BDMLR train marine mammal medics in the United Arab Emirates

Dugong (Photo: Yusuf Thakur, ENHG)British Divers Marine Life Rescue has been asked to train volunteers in the UAE on cetacean and dugong rescue.

Stephen Marsh, BDMLR Operations Manager and Richard Ilderton, BDMLR Coordinator for the Newcastle region, are flying out to Abu Dhabi on October 13th with life-sized whale and dolphin models and rescue equipment including inflatable whale pontoons that lift animals weighing up to two tonnes. The two trainers will run courses at two separate locations in the UAE for around 60 volunteers.

“We’re really proud that this invitation shows that BDMLR is recognised as a leading marine mammal rescue organisation internationally, as well as here in the UK” comments Stephen. “Helping like-minded people rescue their local wildlife and aid conservation of threatened species is always worthwhile. Although we do not have dugongs around our coastline, the first aid and lifting techniques we use on whales, dolphins and seals can be adapted quite easily for these large, endangered animals”.

Says Richard “Dugongs are members of the order Serenia, comprising the only herbivorous marine mammals living today. As they feed on sea-grasses that grow in shallow coastal waters, they live very close to humans and their habitat is at threat from dredging, land reclamation and pollution of the sea bed by contaminants that stop the grasses growing. The animals themselves are additionally threatened by gillnet fisheries and other human interactions and dugongs regularly strand on the beaches”.

Stephen will also give a talk to the Emirates Natural History Group on BDMLR's work in the UK and European cetacean conservation.

The trip is being sponsored by Etihad Airways, who have generously provided free flights for Stephen and Richard, as well as the whale and dolphin models and rescue equipment.

Stephen Marsh
BDMLR Operations Manager