Friday 13 May 2011
We were thrilled to unveil Moko, our first training dolphin, on Takapuna Beach in Auckland today. Measuring 2.2 metres, he represents a life-size common dolphin and when filled with water he is also life-weight.
“Saving whales and dolphins when they strand is what we do best”, says Kimberly Muncaster, Project Jonah CEO. “The secret to our success is training people in advance so they know what to expect. Having equipment, like inflatable dolphins is vital as it helps us simulate a real-life stranding and gives our volunteers a chance to practice their newly learnt skills".
We were able to purchase Moko thanks to a generous donation from the Friedlander Foundation. Speaking on behalf of the Foundation, Jason Friedlander said “We are proud to be able to support Project Jonah in this way. We recognise the amazing work that they do in caring for and rescuing stranded dolphins and whales, and hope this addition will enable more volunteers to be trained.”
New Zealand has one of the highest number of whale and dolphin strandings in the world, but thanks to the dedication of our trained volunteers it also has one of the highest rescue success rates.
Last year, Project Jonah trained more than 400 volunteers, travelling the length and breadth of the country.
“Up until now we’ve only had two training whales, a 6-metre inflatable pilot whale called PJ and her smaller counterpart, Lionel – on loan from the Department of Conservation. PJ has served us well, but after 20 years she’s starting to look her age, whilst Lionel is literally falling apart at the seams” says Kimberly.
To train volunteers we need quality equipment. The more we have, the more volunteers we can train — and the more effective we can be when whales strand.
However, delivering training and responding to stranding emergencies costs serious money, money we don’t always have. To support our work please make an urgent donation
Photos of the launch are available here