The Dolphin Pacific located in the outer island of Palau recently got an ambitious Australian Marine Biologist with extreme love for Dolphins and work experience of four countries as a General Manager.
Liz Howard, 33, hails from Australia and has worked as a dolphin trainer in Australia, Singapore, Bermuda and Spain. She has dedicated her life to aquatic animals specifically to Dolphins and her love for it brought her to this tiny island country.
Palau is now getting recognition in the outside world but before it was the word of mouth that travelled back along with the visitors here.
“A friend from Australia suggested Dolphin Pacific, Palau. For her it was an amazing experience. She said that Dolphins were in the natural habitats with corals. She also told me that Palau was the most beautiful diving she had ever done.” Howard says.
As a General Manager at Dolphin Pacific, she is planning on making the facility better for 5 Pacific Bottlenose Dolphins by improving the infrastructure. Her plan includes attracting more more locals to the facility and for this very purpose she plans on booming up the social media presence of the park.
“Our most important focus is to provide educational outreach programs to the local community in order to promote conservation and appreciation for the marine environment by utilizing the dolphins as an ambassador species.”
She is well aware that tourism is what keeps Palau’s economy running, she hints at plans to promote Dolphin Pacific in Japan, China, Taiwan, USA and Australia to attract more tourists.
Howard was born in England and grew up in the United States, her strong connection to Dolphins bloomed at a young age as her family took trips to Sea World.
Perhaps, it is for this very reason that the first step she has taken as a General Manager is a ‘Summer Marine Awareness Program’ for children 6-12 years old which starts on July 8 and goes on till the 10th.
Recollecting her early experience Howard adds, “We moved to Singapore later and I remember just being fascinated by Dolphins and marine life in general that I wanted to get a diving certificate at the age of 12.”
The desire to dive and explore the marine life was fulfilled at the age of 15 when Howard jumped from Singapore to Australia and got her diving license. She is now a Dive Master and professional free diver.
“I was so excited because I had visited Sea World Australia on a trip before relocating. I told myself that this is the place I am going to work at. This is my dream place”
Howard was adamant to be work with the marine life and her determination lasted throughout her teenage years. She handpicked her subjects carefully to be able to get in an university for Marine Biology.
However, her dream to volunteer at Sea World Australia couldn’t become a reality because of technical policies of the establishment.
Howard stressed that it was extremely difficult to get into Sea World Australia as it was the only facility in Australia with Dolphins.
“You had to get your degree, work there first and then move your way into Dolphins. I did my own research and found out a sea world camp in US. And, so I persuaded my dad to send me there.”
Her dreams were manifested as she spent days at Sea World Texas with Sharks, Dolphins, Penguins and Whales.
In high school, Howard didn’t limit herself to one such experience. She flew back to Australia only to volunteer at the veterinary hospital in last two years of her school to gain more experience with other animals.
Not a lot of people possess the kind of experience Howard did at an early age, after high school she was welcomed by the University of Queensland for Marine Biology and Zoology.
“I took six months off before I went to college and worked with Wild Dolphin Resort. I then worked with Dolphin communication project while I was in college.”
With a huge bag full of different experience, she will now look after different things Dolphin Facility has to offer which includes close encounter with Dolphins (Dry Program), Dolphin Symphony (Dolphin Swim Program), Scuba Dive with Dolphins and being Dolphin Trainer for a day.
“We also host volunteers from a variety of countries and specialise in encounters for people with special needs.” She adds. (By Eshan Kalyanikar)