Our team at Head Office have been busy recently attending two key international conferences!
First up in April was the annual European Cetacean Society conference, this year held in O Grove, Spain, which was attended by around 600 people from around the world to contribute and share the latest marine mammal-related scientific research covering topics as diverse as health, acoustics, habitat, populations, diet, conservation, pathology and more. The team attended a variety of interactive workshops and listened to some fascinating talks over the course of the five-day event.
They also contributed to the programme too, with a poster presentation on the management of our walrus visitor ‘Wally’ back in 2021 alongside the Seal Research Trust and Seal Rescue Ireland; and co-authored an oral presentation on the management of out of habitat marine mammals that was given in his usual humorous style by our colleague Mark Simmonds OBE, who is Director of Science at Ocean Care and Chair of the Marine Animal Rescue Coalition.
It was also an excellent networking opportunity, being the first in-person version of the conference since 2019, where we were able to connect with old friends and make new ones that we are making exciting plans for the future with!
Next on the calendar was the annual Seal Rescue Conference in early May, hosted this year by Ecomare on the island of Texel, Netherlands. The SRC was co-founded by BDMLR in 2018 following the devastating storm season the previous winter, with the aim to bring together rescue and rehabilitation groups from across Europe to pool expertise, protocols, share new techniques and to find collaborative opportunities between us. The group has been a great success in bringing everyone closer together and having an open communication channel, as well as being a useful experience to tour other facilities, as a different organisation hosts each year.
We contributed to the conference this time via three oral presentations – two given by our Head Veterinary Consultant Natalie Arrow on our common seal mouth rot project, and a case study of a chronic entanglement in a grey seal that was published in a scientific journal; while Director of Welfare and Conservation Dan Jarvis brought to everyone’s attention the ongoing national collaboration in the UK between NGOs, the Police and Marine Management Organisation to raise awareness of best practice marine wildlife watching and the law in a project known as Operation Seabird.
We look forward to next year’s conferences in Italy and Germany and thank this year’s hosts for an excellent experience!