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Dolphin Spotting on Lošinj

CroatiaBy: Anna Tucker

In addition to the many natural attractions of Croatia’s island of vitality, Lošinj is also a place that offers a chance to observe pods of dolphins going about their everyday activities…

Namely, the adjoining islands of Cres and Lošinj are a Marine Protected Area, the first of its kind for dolphins in the entire Mediterranean, with an estimated resident population of around 100 Bottlenose dolphins roaming about this archipelago. In addition to its regular inhabitants, there are three other species that have occasionally been recorded in these waters: the striped dolphins, Risso’s dolphins and fin whales.

Exploring this area by land, you will notice that, contrary to its name, Veli (“Big”) Lošinj is certainly not the island’s biggest town. However, the adjective can, without ambiguity, be used to describe a couple of things that this picturesque and colourful town does have in abundance – a big heart and passion for its endangered marine species and their conservation.

Theirs is one of the best-studied communities of dolphins in the Mediterranean Sea. The research, started in 1987 by Tethys, and continued by Blue World since 2000, revealed an alarming 39% decline in population between 1995 and 2003, prompting the Blue World Institute of Marine Research and Conservation to open the first marine education centre on the eastern Adriatic coast in 2003.

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The Institute’s goal is to support sustainable development of local, insular communities through cooperation and an interdisciplinary approach to conservation, which includes scientific research, education and concrete conservation measures. Thanks to this Centre, Veli Lošinj has become the place to go in Croatia if you are interested in seeing and learning more about the world’s most congenial marine mammal.

And while checking out the town of Veli Lošinj is otherwise certainly recommended for its quaint feel, colourful facades, the Tower Museum-Gallery and other attractions, if you are a marine enthusiast, a must-do while there is a visit to this Marine Education Centre, where you can find repose on a scorching summer afternoon and enter into the fascinating world of dolphins and other large marine vertebrates. Find out everything you wanted to know about these endangered animals, as well as about the biology, research and protection of a marine ecosystem by exploring the Centre’s exhibition area and interactive multimedia presentations or by taking part in one of the educational workshops or lectures offered by Blue World.

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By buying one of their original souvenirs, you help support the Centre and its Adriatic Dolphin Project. However, for those looking to get more involved, Blue World also offers six additional options: adopting a dolphin, becoming a volunteer, reporting on a dolphin sighting, participating in the annual Dolphin Day, or becoming a sponsor.

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