As we approach the Labor Day holiday this weekend, why not make it a labor of love for dolphins (and other wildlife) by doing a few simple things to help protect them and their environment? It’s as easy as:

  • Stashing your trash: If you’re heading to the beach or out on the water, be sure to leave no trace behind. That means throwing trash away in closed receptacles or making sure nothing blows out of your boat while you’re underway.
  • Watching out for animals in your path: If you’re on your boat, be sure to have someone acting as a spotter to alert you to any animals — dolphins, manatees, sea turtles — in your path. Polarized sunglasses will help to reduce glare on the water. If you’re on the beach making sandcastles, be sure to fill in any holes before you head home — nesting or emerging hatchling sea turtles can easily become trapped.
  • Reeling in: If you’re fishing from a boat or from shore, be sure to reel in your lines if dolphins are nearby. That way, they won’t get entangled or hooked, and you won’t lose your bait or catch!
  • Adding these numbers to your contact list: In Sarasota and Manatee counties, Mote Marine Laboratory’s Stranding Investigations Program responds to reports of dead, injured and stranded marine life. Call 888-345-2335. Elsewhere in Florida, contact Florida’s Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission at 888-404-3922 or use #FWC or *FWC. Be sure to have your GPS coordinates or location ready to share.