KEY LARGO (CBSMiami) – For 51 years, people around the world have set aside Earth Day, April 22, to think about protecting the environment. This includes the ocean, which is a huge part of the Earth’s environment.

Nobody knows that better than the Dolphins Plus Marine Mammal Responder organization in Key Largo.

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“It was founded primarily to connect people with dolphins so that we learn to care about them more and protect them. So research and conservation are at the core heart of the DPMMR mission,” explained Steve McCulloch, DPMMR stranding coordinator.

The non-profit leads the only whale and dolphin stranding organization covering 10,000 square miles of marine habitat in the Florida Keys.

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CBS4 photojournalist Rafael Murciano recently spent some time at their Key Largo facility and learned that every day is Earth Day at DPMMR.

“The primary threats facing dolphins in this region and throughout Florida are actually entanglement and boat strikes. We encourage people to recognize their role and responsibility to protect wild dolphins by being responsible boaters and teaching those skills to their children and to the next generation,” said McCulloch.

A dolphin at Dolphins Plus Marine Mammal Responder in Key Largo (CBS4)

“You have immense responsibility, and our goal is to respond to every stranding event to characterize why these animals strand and to provide care and assistance to sick and injured dolphins,” he explained. “At the same time, the core of our mission is to educate people about the importance of dolphins in the wild and their role as sentinels of the ocean in human health. We share the same water, we eat the same food, and these animals, like ourselves, are long lived. mammals and again, they are to the sea as we are to the land.”

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Click here for more information about DPMMR.