Dolphin Action and Protection Group is a non-governmental organization in South Africa with the goal of protecting dolphins and whales. The group was formed in 1977 and has broadened its horizons and activities it is involved in ever since.
DARG now runs many national educational and fundraising campaigns. They pass out thousands of pamphlets to schools, libraries, and fishermen and merchant vessels. Their aim is to stop people from dumping plastics overboard, as plastic waste does direct harm to animals that often ingest them. The animals either believe the waste is food or swallow it accidentally. It’s impossible to digest a plastic bottle; thousands animals die because of it.
Something else DAPG has tried to eliminate is high seas pelagic drift-netting as it kills cetacean (whales and dolphins) caught in the drift nets. The group was successful in phasing out this type of fishing tactic in the southern Indian and Atlantic oceans and even formed a coalition with the Marine and Coastal Management to create the South African Whale Disentanglement Unit.
The group has been active in many campaigns, including Save the Whales, Save Antarctica, Dolphins Should be Free and Save Our Sea Life – Prevent Plastic Pollution. The reach of the organization spans from environmental issues to animal protection ones.
DAPG was in the news in May of 2009, when there was a mass stranding on the beach at Kommetjie. CNN was covering it and rolling footage. DAPG stepped in at once and called out all the volunteers they could to help. They were successful in saving many of the animals.
According to the head of DAPG, Nan Rice, “mass strandings are extremely stressful for whales and to save stranding whales is an extremely difficult task.”
The group has received many awards for their work. In 2006 their secretary received the Molteno Gold Medal from the Cape Tercentenary Foundation as an honor for her marine conservation achievements. This is just one of the group’s many awards.