The city of Taranto was a colony of Sparta and has been created thousands of years ago.
One of the legend says that the son of Poseidon, Taras, saw a dolphin from the coast once arrived there and because of this, he decided to create the first colony of what was going to become Taranto.
Myth of real history, it doesn't really matter.
What is sure is that Taranto became extremely important and gave the name to the entire Gulf, an area that involves 3 regions of South Italy: Puglia, Basilicata and Calabria. It's an area of aproximatly 14000 square Km and it goes from Santa Maria di Leuca in Puglia to Punta Alice in Calabria.
This intro to say that the Gulf of Taranto, the northern part of the Ionian Sea, its history and its legends have been always related with CETACEANS, the magnificent marine mammals, extremly important for the health of marine ecosystems worldwide.
"Flag species": this is how, in science, species like dolphins and whales are identified because they attract the attention of many people and, thanks to their preservation, it's possible to preserve the whole ecosystem and, in conclusion, the resources that this ecosystem produces for humans (for us).
Hundreds of years of glorious history and last decades of dishonor for this beautiful land because the word "Taranto" is related (over all in the mind of Italians) to "Ilva", a steal industry that is polluting this town too much creating many problems.
Here is where I work since 2016 because this town made me fall in love of the beautiful incontaminate beaches, of the crystalline waters of its coast, of unique wildlife and biodiveristy and because the passion of some people to fight for a better future.
Some of those people are part of a Scientific Ngo called JONIAN DOLPHIN CONSERVATION that since 2009 studies and preserve the Cetaceans of the Gulf of Taranto.
After travelling all over Europe, after an experience studying Cetaceans in Madeira, I decided to dedicate my life to the JDC.
Here is where my heart is. Still some people are surprised when they know that I study cetaceans here and their reaction is "do we have dolphins?".
Yeah. We have. And not only some of them but many species.
In the world exists around 80-90 species of Cetaceans and in the Mediterrenan Sea (and in the Ionian Sea as well) we have more or less 12 species (some of them more common and some of them rare).
I don't want to say anything of what my eyes didn't see, so, I'll tell you something and I'll show you what I saw.
"Flipper". Some of you will remember the tv series. That species is the Bottlenose Dolphin (Tursiops truncatus), that unfortunatly survives in captivity and it's object of tortures and sufferings in Tv shows like Flipper and marine circus.
Those big dolphins, long around 3 m, usually live long the coastline at a depth of maximum 200m but it's not rare to do sighting far from the coast.
Living in pod of several individuals, the Bottlenose dolphins, leave me speechless all the time that we encounter them because of their majesty in the sea.
Moving from the coast to the open sea we encounter another species and its dimensions are bigger than the previous one: the Risso's dolphins (Grampus griseus).
Not common like the Bottlenose but same behaviour, living in big pod. These dolphins are unique because when they born they are completly gray and, growing and getting older, they become almost white due to several scratches on their skin caused by contacts with other dolphins of the same species or with their prey.
I have to admit, the Risso's are one of my favourite cetaceans!
Always being far from the coast, after 3 years without any sightings, the Common dolphin (Delphinus delphi) came back to the Gulf but, until now, I don't have good pictures (shame on me) but I hope that you will like these shoots of the most abudant species of the area (and the one that I love more): the Striped Dolphins (Stenella coeruleoalba).
Often living and encountered in really big pods, even hundreds of individuals together, these dolphins, some of the smalllest among the cetaceans world (the adults reach almost 2m of lenght), with beautiful jumps, fast speed and impressive social behaviours, are my favourite animals.
From the smallest to the biggest! Yes, in this area live also the biggest predator of the Planet: the Sperm Whale (Physeter macrocephalus). The sighting of those animals are not so rare and also them live in pods of some individuals.
Even if those animals are really big (the biggest that I saw was long more or less 20 m) they are extremely elusive because they spend a lot of time in the deep, looking for their prey.
5 Species of Cetaceans.
All of them preserved by all the laws and rules of the World but all of them in danger because of the bad impacts of humans.
The team of the JDC, collaborating with important entities like the Department of Biology of the University of Bari and the C.N.R. (National Coucil of Research), has a mission: study to understand the world of cetaceans better and better and, over all, fight for the conservation of these amazing marine creatures and give values to the Gulf of Taranto, treasures of beauties, myths and resources that deserve to be preserved and not wasted or exploited; in order to give life to this part of the big blue that for thousands of years gave to us everything, for free and it continue to give us life.
Now, this land and those animals need us.
I am in. I am dedicating my life to this mission.
Would you support us?
At first, be part of the solution:
1. Reduce your consume of plastic
2. Don't buy tickets for captivity show
3. Buy products from sustainable fisheries
Second, visit our website to join us on board as "researcher for a day" and to discover all the possible ways to join us through our camps and volunteering opportunities.