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Press release: Mundo Azul and The Oceanic Society announcing international cooperation for the conservation of Peruvian marine mammals

Lima, Wednesday, 03 of December 2003: The Peruvian NGO Mundo Azul for the conservation of marine biodiversity and the US based Oceanic Society are announcing their future cooperation for the investigation and conservation of marine mammals in Peru.

The Peruvian NGO Mundo Azul and the US-based Oceanic Society have signed yesterday a convenium of cooperation, agreeing to combine forces in order to conduct investigation and conservation programs for marine mammals in Peru. The Oceanic Society is a non-profit organization established in 1969 dedicated to protection of marine wildlife and oceanic biodiversity through an integrated program of science, environmental education and volunteerism.

Mundo Azul is a Peruvian non-profit association, established in 1999, for the conservation of marine, coastal and aquatic species and ecosystems, the execution of scientific investigation, environmental education and sustainable development including eco-tourism development.

The objectives of the cooperation between Mundo Azul and the Oceanic Society are:

The Oceanic Society already has a long tradition in working in Peru. In 1991 the cetacean scientist Steve Leatherwood had been invited by the Oceanic Society to visit Peru and evaluate the possibilities to start long term research projects on river dolphins, being supported by ecotourism. Since then the Oceanic Society undertook several research expeditions to the Peruvian rainforest. The Oceanic Society will act as the United States representative of Mundo Azul for common projects or programs.

Mundo Azul has become active in 2003 in order to campaign against the illegal dolphin slaughter for human consumption along the Peruvian coast. The organization estimates a total of 3000 dolphins and porpoises to be illegally killed for human consumption. Based on under cover investigations and in cooperation with the Peruvian police and marines the NGO was able to capture several illegal fishermen and meat dealers and seize the meat of illegally hunted dolphins. In a massive media campaign on national level the NGO informed the Peruvian public about the existing problem and tried to raise awareness. Mundo Azul will be the Peruvian representative of The Oceanic Society.

For us the cooperation with the Oceanic Society offers an exciting possibility to intensify our dolphin conservation campaign and the research projects we already started in cooperation with other international organizations, says Stefan Austermhle, Executive Director of Mundo Azul. We believe that Mundo Azul will be profiting a lot from the international experience of The Oceanic Society. This cooperation will give us the possibility to expand our national activities and include other species like river dolphins and marine otters in our activities.

As an international organization, explained Birgit Winning, Executive Director of The Oceanic Society, we have a strong interest in cooperating with local partners like Mundo Azul, who know the situation in their own country best and have the capacity to create links with local stakeholders that strengthen the international programs of the Oceanic Society.

During the next months both organizations will design their research and conservation activities for the year 2004, involving local fishermen in order to provide them with an economic alternative to illegal dolphin killing.

For more information please contact:

Birgit Winning
The Oceanic Society
office@oceanic-society.org

Stefan Austermhle
Mundo Azul
mundoazul@terra.com.pe


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