Liz Howard, the General Manager of Dolphins Pacific, announced on April 1st that their 4-month old dolphin was given the name “Mekereos”.
In an interview with Island Times, Liz mentioned that President Remengesau was given the task of naming the dolphin.“Mekereos” means “cherished” or “treasured”.
Mekereos is currently under his mother’s care and hasn’t socialized with the other dolphins yet, but in the next couple of months, Mekereos will have the opportunity to be with his older sisters. This will give the younger female dolphins the chance to learn how to be mothers.
However, in order to ensure the health of the dolphins as well as maintain the operations required for Dolphins Pacific, Liz says that their office needs help from the community.
Dolphins Pacific is a non-profit organization and relies on the tourism industry as its main source of revenue. The recent COVID-19 response, however, has greatly weakened the tourism industry, in turn affecting the staff’s ability to take care of the dolphins.
“As a non-profit organization, part of our responsibility is also to provide a resource for the people of Palau. Talking with the president, he realizes that the dolphins are important not just for the economy, but also for Marine Education and conservation of the ocean,” stated Liz.
Dolphins Pacific plays an important role in the local community by educating different schools about the oceanic environment. It also offers internship opportunities for people from different countries who are interested in protecting the ocean, taking care of dolphins, and learning about Palau’s history and culture. Liz went on to say that people who visit their facilities help with coral planting.
“We want to keep being operational so that we can continue to provide these services for the locals and also for the economy,” added Liz.
Liz Howard said that any donation made will go towards food for the dolphins, their training, medical necessities, and to ensure that there are staff present who can watch over the dolphins. It will also aid them throughout the COVID-19 response.
Dolphins Pacific remains open to all visitors from 8 am to 12 pm, and there are special offers for guests. The fee for Palauansis $10 while local residents from other countries will pay $15 for close encounters with the dolphins. Close encounters paired with swimming with the dolphins will cost $50 for adults and $40 for kids.
Having guests will help Mekereos get used to human interaction, Liz said.