Our mission at the Dolphin Research Center
The Dolphin Research Center (DRC) is a not-for-profit
education and research facility, home to a family of Atlantic bottlenose dolphins and California sea
lions. Over half of our family was born at the Center, while the other members either have come to us from other facilities, or were collected long ago by other management.
In addition to maintaining the best possible environment for the dolphins
and sea lions at the Center, we also dedicate ourselves to assisting marine mammals in distress in the surrounding waters of the Keys. For decades, DRC operated as the Southernmost member of the Marine
Mammal Stranding Network. We rescued and rehabilitated whales and dolphins, providing expert medical attention to help ease the way for our marine friends from the wild. The rescue and rehabilitation procedures provided us with invaluable opportunities for critical research and data collection. DRC extended its rescue commitment to include the endangered
manatee and is currently the only facility in the Florida Keys licensed by the Federal Government to assist manatees in distress.
To reach as many people as possible, the Center provides a variety of educational programs that allow the public a chance to learn firsthand about the world of the dolphin.
Dolphins have been fascinating people for thousands of years. We are charmed by their beauty and grace, and drawn by an elusive sense of their intelligence. They have found their way into our history, art, mythology, and literature. In recent times, dolphins have begun to emerge from their shroud of legend as we learn more about their very real (and no less fascinating) capabilities and needs. The history of research in the field of marine mammals is short: only about forty years. This barely covers a single dolphin's lifetime. The relatively little that is known about marine mammals hints at a wealth of knowledge relevant to our shared future on this planet. At the Dolphin
Research Center, we are dedicated to learning from and about dolphins, and teaching what we know, for the mutual benefit of both species.