Enrique Perlado Campos is the head of the Mundomar Foundation, a private non-profit foundation, with headquarters in the animal park of the same name, in Benidorm (Spain). The ultimate goal of this entity is to promote the care, conservation and preservation of nature and the environment, especially in the area of marine biology. We talked with him and this is what he told us:
Amusement Logic: Let’s look back first; when and how did the Foundation begin? How has it evolved throughout the years?
Enrique Perlado Campos: The Mundomar Foundation began in 2001, to develop free dolphin-therapy programs for kids with psychological and/or physical impairments. During the years, more than 4,200 children with different challenges have been able to benefit from dolphin-therapy. All the projects are done without any kind of financing, only with that from the Mundomar company and small donations that may be received through collaborating associations.
A.L.: What does the awareness work about nature care consist of?
E.P.C.: Apart from the dolphin-therapy, the Mundomar Foundation tries to involve society, by carrying out conservation and research programs, about the care of the environment and its inhabitants. The foundation also does very important educational work with children. Mundomar provides educational and awareness talks for many schools in the region.
A.L.: And collaboration with universities and specialised centres?
E.P.C.: The Mundomar Foundation has collaborative agreements with Spanish and foreign universities to carry out different projects. Environmental related career students can also do work experience in Mundomar.
A.L.: What lines of research does the foundation undertake?
E.P.C.: Currently there are several research projects underway in Mundomar. For example, acoustics and environmental enrichment with dolphins. There are also in situ and ex situ conservation projects with other species being developed.
A.L.: What benefits do vulnerable groups find in sociocultural programs of welfare and interaction with animals?
E.P.C.: The therapeutic objective of this program means that all improvements of the patients at different levels can result in a change in their attitude and in the evolution of their illness, as well as a possible relief in their daily life.
These signs can mean an advance in chronic conditions and thereby achieve the main aim of improving the quality of life of these groups of patients.
A.L.: How and with what other organisations do you collaborate?
E.P.C.: The Mundomar Foundation collaborates with different Spanish and foreign associations, providing a limited number of grants so that patients get the chance to carry out dolphin-therapy in Mundomar. All this without any economic cost for the families.
A.L.: What do dolphins contribute in regards to interaction with humans?
Mainly emotional stimulation. In dolphin-therapy, work is done is different fields, as in any other type of therapy, for example:
- Speech therapy
- Proprioceptive work
- Tactile stimulation
- Problem solving
- Concentration and attention
- Anti-aggression exercises
- Behavioural therapy
- Gait training, passive limb movement
- Formation of social contact
A.L.: What would you say to those people who doubt the suitability of animal parks?
E.P.C.: I’d say that they should objectively value the work that animal parks do nowadays. The main work of animal parks in the 21st century is, in addition to the conservation of threatened species, to investigate and educate about the awareness of environmental problems. Therefore, if it were not thanks to animal parks, there would be species that would become extinct.
A.L.: How do you see the Foundation’s future?
E.P.C.: The future of the Foundation will be to continue helping the population, scientific community and the public’s awareness of the importance of protecting the environment and all its inhabitants. Many people are surprised when there are organisations whose sole objective is to help society without receiving anything in return. I think that all companies should make their contribution by doing social work, which I think is necessary today. The Mundomar Foundation will continue to work hard towards this goal.