Throughout April, the Loro Parque Foundation carried out the ‘Discovering Our Sea’ project, which aims to raise awareness of the extraordinary richness of Canarian waters and the need to protect and conserve them. The initiative is aimed at secondary school students and involved different schools on the island of Tenerife.
The activity was carried out in three sessions, on different days, and was led by the Foundation’s educators, who used a dynamic of play and participative work with the aim of encouraging interest in the students and to generate a link that promotes the protection of the marine environment and nature in general. The first part took place in the classroom at the individual schools, the second in Loro Parque and the third on board the Freebird One catamaran.
The ‘Discovering Our Sea’ project seeks to: broaden young people’s knowledge of the archipelago’s oceanographic characteristics that make it a biodiversity hotspot; to discover and teach them to appreciate the immense wealth of the islands’ marine fauna, especially the cetacean species that frequent the Canarian coasts; to improve their awareness of the main problems affecting the conservation of the marine environment; and to develop attitudes of respect, care and responsibility for the conservation of the oceans, by strengthening and promoting the use of more sustainable alternatives that reduce the negative impacts of human activity therein.
This Loro Parque Foundation initiative is particularly important given the geographical situation of the Canary Islands, which, together with their oceanographic peculiarities, bring together tropical and subtropical species and temperate water species in their surroundings. The proximity of bathypelagic and abyssopelagic environments on the coasts makes the archipelagos of the Macaronesian region large oases in the middle of the north-south migratory routes, which favours the presence of the greatest diversity of cetaceans in the entire Atlantic Ocean.
However, these characteristics make oceanic islands more susceptible to various threat factors, such as climate change, pollution or over-fishing, which adversely affect the protection of the oceans and, in particular, the degree of conservation of certain species.
Preventing the deterioration of the marine biodiversity of the Canary Islands is only possible if its unique richness is known and appreciated, which is why environmental education plays a fundamental role in favour of the conservation of this submerged ‘treasure’, which is as beautiful as it’s fragile. That’s why the Loro Parque Foundation, through ‘Discovering Our Sea’, aims to involve Canarian schoolchildren to improve their knowledge of the characteristic marine heritage that surrounds them, so that they can be its champions and promote attitudes of respect that result in fostering their conservation and the sustainable use of their resources.
Thus, the Foundation continues to implement educational projects that promote the protection and conservation of nature, in line with the work that has defined its efforts since its creation in 1994. Aligned with the principles of Loro Parque, a wildlife conservation centre that makes its existence possible thanks to its funding, it has already allocated more than $18,000,000,000 to different ‘in situ’ and ‘ex situ’ conservation projects and has managed to save nine species of parrots from extinction.