The 1960s and 70s are often remembered as the beginning of space exploration. For me, they marked the beginning of my discovery of and fascination with large marine mammals like dolphins and whales. Marine parks, television programs and movies made these animals accessible and highlighted their intelligence, personalities and beauty.
Growing up mostly in states not accessible to the ocean, I couldn’t get enough of dolphins, whales, and yes, an occasional shark (Jaws 1974). I promised myself that I would one day move beyond the glass that separated me from these creatures to become a “hands-on” participant in understanding and protecting their way of life.
As an adult, I made my way to California for my career and to start a family. Whether by design or by luck, my wife and I share a love for marine mammals and actually spent our honeymoon working with dolphin trainers. We participated in training, feeding, weighing, performing medical exams and enjoying play time with dolphins, killer whales and pilot whales. I often thought how lucky I was to find “the” woman who didn’t mind handling smelly fish to feed dolphins and whales during her honeymoon! What we learned most from this experience was the enthusiasm and love trainers and caretakers have for these creatures.
We founded Beldolph in 2007, dedicating it to the study and preservation of large marine mammals, primarily dolphins and whales. Our mission is to provide grants to individuals and organizations whose activities support our goals and whose enthusiasm and creativity improve the survival and well-being of these amazing animals.
– Peter & Bel Kiesecker, Founders