Hey friends! Welcome back to Rewildology, the show all about conservation, travel, and rewilding the planet. I’m your host, Brooke Mitchell-Norman, conservation biologist and adventure traveler.
Did you have a childhood experience that set off your life’s path? What was that moment? Were you at home exploring your family’s woods and discovered your connection with nature? Were you on a trip abroad and exposed to a phenomenon that deeply moved you? Maybe your moment happened in college and a professor said something that completely changed your perspective. When did you know that you wanted to do what you’re pursuing?
Today’s guest, Pedro Fruet, Ph.D., vividly remembers the exact moment that he decided to study and protect dolphins as his life’s mission. Surfing off of the coast of Casino Beach in Southern Brazil, Pedro encountered bottlenose dolphins for the first time and fell in love with the species. Casino Beach has a culture focused on ocean conservation, and every summer that his family visited the area, his love for the ocean grew. He later received his Ph.D. in Biological Oceanography, and with the help of his colleagues, he determined that the bottlenose dolphins he swam with as a kid was their own subspecies, the Lahille’s Bottlenose Dolphin. Through his studies, Pedro discovered that only 600 individuals currently exist in the population. Now, he’s focusing his attention on the local community to reduce bycatch, the species’ number one threat.
Pedro is a 2021 Whitley Award recipient, which is how I met him. The Whitley Fund for Nature provides support and training to grassroots conservation projects around the world. THE Sir David Attenborough is a WFN trustee, which just shows you how prestigious this organization is. If you have a grassroots conservation project that needs funding, I highly recommend checking out whitleyaward.org and apply for one of their grants.
I loved my conversation with Pedro and I’m very excited to share his story with you all. I’m thinking we need to get a group of us together to visit Pedro in Casino Beach. COVID ruined my trip to the Pantanal, so I’m looking for any excuse to travel to Brazil. Who wants to go with me?? Send me a DM on Instagram if you’re up for a South American trip! Maybe I’ll just put one together.
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Alrighty, everyone. Now onto my conversation with Pedro.
Key Takeaways & Highlights
- Pedro’s journey discovering his love for the species
- His educational background
- How his colleagues and he discovered that the bottlenose dolphins he surfed with as a child were their own subspecies – the Lahille’s Bottlebose Dolphin
- The dophin’s top threats
- How Pedro plans to use his Whitley Award to launch a community project to reduce bycatch and engage locals in dolphin conservation
- Pedro’s struggles and advice for anyone wanting to follow a similar path
Links & Resources
You can reach Pedro by emailing him at firstname.lastname@example.org
Check out other Rewildology Episodes.
How to Have a Wedding that Doesn’t Kill the Planet (Episode 30)
Ep. 29 Show Notes | Canines in Conservation: Protecting Wildlife & Communities with Jack Gradidge
Ep. 28 Show Notes | Canines in Conservation: Detecting Scientific Data with Kayla Fratt