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Marine Mammal Care & Basic Training - Dolphin Lab Adult Focused Career Series Course

Course Information

Marine Mammal Care and Basic Training is part of our focused career series DolphinLab programs. Working closely with our Education and Animal Care and Training staff, students take a hands-on approach to learning about basic training methods and husbandry care practices with DRC’s dolphin family.

Students participate in a number of interactive activities, including a meet and greet wade-in session, a swim session as well as multiple sessions down on the docks gaining training experience with the dolphins throughout the week. As a part of their introduction into marine mammal care and behavior, students will experience hands on learning opportunities in dolphin husbandry and training, including diet preparation; and how to feed, reinforce, and maintain established behaviors.

Students will also observe and assist in a number of medical demonstrations with the animals. At the conclusion of the course, students will show off their animal handling skills by conducting a public dolphin session narrated by DRC’s animal care and training staff for the center’s visitors.

Students learn to respect each dolphin as an individual with his or her own “dolphinality” through observation of their unique behavioral and physical characteristics. The course includes a unique blend of seminars, observation time, and hands-on activities aimed at giving students an in depth understanding of careers in marine mammal care and training.

Marine Mammal Care and Basic Training is an academically intensive, physically rigorous, seven-day program specifically designed for students seriously interested in pursuing a career in marine mammal care and training. This course offers students a unique opportunity to gain career oriented hands-on experience under the guidance of our accomplished trainers.

Primarily focused on the common bottlenose dolphin, the course also delves lightly into the care of sea lions and DRC’s rescue efforts with the Florida manatee.

Seminars Include:

  • Marine Mammal Husbandry
  • Introduction to Marine Mammal Training Techniques
  • Principles of Dolphin Handling
  • Medical Care and Pathology of Marine Mammals
  • Marine Mammal Rescue and Rehabilitation
  • Habitat Design & Maintenance
  • Pinniped Life History/Physiology
  • Manatee Life History/Physiology

Hands-On Activities Include:

  • One Dolphin Splash
  • One Dolphin Encounter
  • Daily dolphin handling dock sessions beginning mid-week
  • Record keeping, diet preparation & assisting in husbandry care

Class sizes average ten to fourteen students to ensure individualized instruction

Additional Activities Include:

Training Demonstration, Training Workshop, Husbandry tour, Reinforcement Techniques Workshop, Pinniped demonstration, Medical behavior demonstrations, Observation Time. Q&A panel discussion with senior trainers on the differences in caring for various marine mammals.

College Credit:

Students may elect to receive college credit for attending this course. Credit is available through the Florida Keys Community College for an additional fee. In order to receive credit, students must successfully complete all course activities and pass an end of course exam. For more information, click here.

Cost:

The cost of Marine Mammal Care and Basic Training is $1800.00 (US). Tuition includes all seminars, activities, meals, and lodging. Also included in the tuition are photographs of your swim session and video montage documenting dock sessions from throughout the week. The cost of the course also includes transportation to and from the Marathon Airport or Marathon hotels at pre-established times that will be provided to you after you are a confirmed student.

Prerequisites:

Students must successfully complete Basic DolphinLab before attending Marine Mammal Care and Basic Training. Applicants are expected to have a strong interest in marine mammal science, careers in the field and be able to participate in an academically and physically rigorous schedule. The course is available to all students ages 18 and up.


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Our Mission - Through education, research and rescue, Dolphin Research Center promotes peaceful coexistence, cooperation and communication between marine mammals, humans and the environment we share with the well being of DRC's animals taking precedence.
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