Dolphin doctor conducts Australia-first study in Coffs
DOCTOR Isabella Clegg travels the world assessing the welfare of dolphins in human care and this week she was in Coffs Harbour at the Dolphin Marine Conservation Park.
Dr Clegg's visit is part of the sea sanctuary feasibility study being jointly undertaken with Action for Dolphins (AFD) and World Animal Protection (WAP).
In addition to assessing the overall welfare of the dolphins, the findings will provide an insight into the individual personalities of each dolphin, and how they may react and adapt in a sea sanctuary environment.
Dr Clegg conducted her PhD on determining the best way to assess the welfare of dolphins residing under human care and devised the C-Well model, which is short for cetacean welfare. She now travels the globe consulting to marine parks to ensure dolphins have the best possible care.
"The assessment technique is a breakthrough for the industry,” Terry Goodall, managing director at Dolphin Marine Conservation Park said.
"In effect, this will enable us to more thoroughly measure the dolphin's welfare. This is the first time that a study of this kind has been conducted in the southern hemisphere and we are proud to be at the forefront of cetacean welfare globally,” said Mr Goodall.
Dr Clegg says that until recently there haven't been accurate methods of showing whether or not animals under human care have a good quality of life.
"I'll be using objective measures to assess the dolphins' welfare in their current environment. This will help to make decisions about their future and whether they would be good candidates for possible relocation to a sea sanctuary in the ocean.
"I'm very pleased to be in Coffs Harbour to conduct this Australia-first study.”