Casper Douma - Photographer Bonaire - Logo

Blue Defenders NGO

Blue Defenders NGO

Blue Defenders NGO

Blue Defenders NGO

Blue Defenders NGO Expeditions (ANBI & Donateursbelangen) conducts megafauna research throughout the Caribbean. The start of our research will focus primarily on the Leeward Islands, Bonaire (Yarari Marine Mammal & Shark Santuary), Curacao and Aruba. The goal of our research is to map numbers, species and movements outside the marine park (up to 60 meters depth in the sea). To then translate this data into being able to more effectively protect megafauna. Next to this we are also involved in Marine Mammals Strandings Bonaire

Stay informed by following our blogs!

Casper, Indy and Cora Douma

Yarari Sanctuary

The Yarari Sanctuary (Bonaire, Statia and Saba), which encompasses all the waters around the islands including the Exclusive Economic Zone or EEZ, will not only protect sharks, but will also provide a haven for megafauna like whales and dolphins (report a sighting)  More than twenty different species of whales and dolphins are known to inhabit the waters around these islands, including orcas, humpback whales and sperm whales.

Expeditions in the Caribbean

Blue Defenders expeditions will start in waters around Bonaire and will subsequently expand to Curaçao, Aruba and the wider Caribbean. In collaboration with Caribbean Islands Manta Conservation Program and other organizations present on the islands, we want to draw attention to the protection of cetaceans. For example, by ensuring safe passages (blue corridors). In the coming years we will do whatever it takes to get info about the cetaceans in the Caribbean. In the coming weeks we will make a test trip to the most northern point of the EEZ boundaries of the Dutch Caribbean. We are planning our first trip in January 2024 for a week. After evaluation we will make another trip in May and October of each one week. We’ll be sailing on a Catamaran with Bonaire Yacht Charters. On our site we will publish the expedition dates in a timely manner. Another goal is to tag whales so we can clearly record the route. We obviously choose the least invasive method of tagging. Through drone deployment, we can retrieve essential data with a transmitter that sticks to the whale’s back for several weeks. A marine biologist will join us on our trips.

Dolphins on Aruba, Bonaire & Curacao

Around Bonaire and Curacao we have several types of dolphins, such as the Bottlenose dolphin, Spinner dolphins but also the Orca! With the help of residents and tourists staying on Bonaire (citizens science), a database is made of the dolphins present on Bonaire but also on Curacao and Aruba. Anyone can report his or her observations. Soon it will be possible to enter the information yourself, so that there is an overview of the different species and the number of dolphins in the Marine Park of Bonaire. With this information, further research can be done into behaviour and it can be ensured that Bonaire remains a safe place. Little is known about the dolphins in this region. 

Dolphin facts

  • Dolphins will stay underwater for about 10 seconds before they come to the surface again. But they can stay underwater for over 10 minutes or even longer.
  • When dolphins are sleeping they only use half of their brain, the other side of there brain make sure they can still swim and breath.
  • Bottlenose dolphins are usually slow swimmers but they can reach 30mph
  • Dolphins like to blow bubbles to push their prey up to the surface but they also use ‘fish-whacking’. They use their tail to hit fish which will make it easier to catch them.

How can you help?

  1. Register what you see by clicking the Megafauna button below!
  2. If you have the possibility make pictures of the dorsal fin

Funding