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LIVE streams take us Australia - wide!

LIVE streams take us Australia - wide!

Posted: 04-May-2020

Despite the shutdown forced by COVID-19, local icon, Dolphin Marine Conservation Park (DMCP) quickly adapted using social media to share their animals and conservation messages with their community with surprising results.

Since 4th April, the park has shared 11 live streams and pre-recorded videos featuring the Marine Care Team and their animals on Facebook. Managing Director, Terry Goodall, said he has been blown away by the response.

“Nearly 200,000 people from across Australia have watched and interacted with our videos, including some people in America,” he said. “Our team is both shocked and delighted. Before the shutdown, we welcomed around 60,000 visitors to our park each year and now we have more than doubled our virtual visitors in just four weeks. The success has opened our eyes to a whole new communication medium with online audiences, expanded our community and raised our profile across Australia.”

However, keeping engaged with the community has not been easy. As a direct result of COVID-19, DMCP had to stand down 47 staff and reduce hours. But, despite receiving no visitor income, they have continued to care for the marine mammals and other animals in their care.

The dedicated Marine Care Team volunteered to make the videos. Tani Karaka, a Marine Carer at the park fortwo and a half years and video enthusiast has been a key driver of the program. “We’re at the Park every day caring for our animals, feeding them and looking after their welfare and making sure they receive vital enrichment so we thought why not share this with everyone while they’re at home in isolation and bring some joy to their day,” she said.

The live streams, in particular, have been very well supported averaging over 18,000 viewers for each event. The most popular live stream so far has been with Plugga, the three-flippered Green Sea Turtle who was rescued many years ago after being attacked by a predator. Gemma, Plugga’s carer, tried her best to encourage the 90kg turtle to swim closer to the camera but Plugga was more interested in sleeping which made amusing viewing for everyone. Despite being camera shy, Plugga’s live stream attracted nearly 25,000 viewers. Refusing to be discouraged, after the live stream the marine team uploaded a short video of Plugga swimming with Gemma which attracted a further 7,500 viewers.

Mr Goodall said that the team had invested a lot of time and effort into the live streams and videos, planning and writing the scripts, filming and editing and connecting to the Facebook and Instagram communities to attract viewers. “It has been a coordinated team approach which has exceeded all our expectations and we are now looking at how we can use new technology to continue to share our animals and conservation messages with a much wider audience into the future,” added Mr Goodall.

 

Mr. Goodall said that recent times have been incredibly stressful for everyone, especially in the past seven weeks.

"Before the global pandemic, we endured a long drought, horrific bushfires and then floods. Summer holidays and Easter are normally our busiest times. But this year people stayed home and visitors to the Coffs Coast, and our park, decreased by 40%. This has been an enormous challenge for our team. Along with many others on the mid-north coast, our organisation is suffering. Our financial capacity to continue the care for our beautiful animals is being tested."

This week's announcement by the Government to fund zoos, wildlife parks, sanctuaries and aquariums to the tune of $94.6M is a step welcomed by the marine park.

“Fortunately, we will receive some help from the Government JobKeeper program. And the Government funding announced yesterday is a lifeline for DMCP and many other animal care organisations.

It costs DMCP over $20,000 a week to care for our animals. This covers a skeleton marine care team, food, medical and utility charges. Our animals eat 63 kg of fish every day! What’s more, unlike organisations that care for land-based animals, DMCP incurs extra costs to maintain our saltwater quality. The water is monitored and tested several times a day.

We are still closed to visitors but our animal welfare continues. However, with no visitors, we’re not sure how much longer we could survive without Government assistance.”

However, the good news is that there is light at the end of the tunnel. With Government restrictions easing, domestic tourism is likely to re-open soon. Once borders re-open, people will be keen to get out of their homes and travel again.

Mr Goodall is optimistic. “The Coffs Coast is a stunning place to enjoy the fresh coastal air. We’re an outdoor park and with our new measures for physical distancing and upgraded hygiene regimes, we are hoping people will come and visit in person as soon as they are able. In the meantime, people can check in to our Facebook page and watch our library of videos and keep up to date with new content coming soon,” he said.



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Tami

I seen Bucky on sash on TV just now. What an amazing spirit. I feel blessed to be kissed by a trooper. Xoxo thank you Greg for sharing an amazing dolphin. I work with Fuji and I am glad we have a photo booth for people to keep the memories. Sometimes it is all you have. I love my kiss picture with Bucky. Thank you for your photo. Paige Sinclair CEO..

Katherine Thompson

This was my last visit to The pet Porpoise pool 35 years ago I was 7. we used to go every year when I was little and my grandmother getting kissed by a seal was the highlight of the day. I loved feeding the fairy penguins and my dream is to one day swim with the dolphins. I would love to win passes to marine magic to experience it again with my family. What great memories Katherine, we hope to w..

Bianca

My mum and I just spend the whole weekend at Pet Porpoise Pool, we travel from Tweed to Coffs just to see Buck and Zip, we love them and can't get enough. Already driven down 3 times this year, and every time it's amazing. And we loved seeing all 5 dolphins in the pool, Bella's a sneaky little thing! We got drenched by her plenty of times hahaha. Great to hear you enjoyed yourselves - Paige S..

Rachel Knight

Best birthday ever! I spent two days at Coffs Harbour on January 6 and January 7. I travelled down on the 5th and left on the 8th, my sole reason for traveling 7 hours by train each way being to spend my birthday at your park which is on January 6. I loved it so much and everyone was so friendly that I have already booked my next holiday for 2021 so I can see you all again. My first day I book..

Taneesha Govender

My family and I went to The dolphin marine conservation last September and it was the best experience of our lives! When we watched the dolphin show, there were so many smiles, laughs and really enjoyable moments. After the show was the best part, We got to put our hands in the water and see if the dolphins came to us! When they did, it was so magical, I felt at peace and decided I wanted to p..

Andrew Willis

Thanks again to the Dolphin Marine Conservation park for another unforgettable experience,doing my third in water experience with the beautiful Calamity and the doing an in water seal experience with Adelaide and Maxine,a big thanks must go out to Calamity,Adelaide & Maxine and also the Dolphin Marine Conservation for another unforgettable afternoon. Thank you Andrew :)..

Melanie Weaver

I have not come down from the high of having one of my best days ever! As a 37 year old, I have never experienced being close up with a beautiful dolphin and today my dreams came true. You could not make my smile disappear, I was able to touch and interact with the dolphins and that was just normal entry! I will be back for an experience with these beautiful creatures. I had happy tears for mo..

Sheridan Lockyer

During our recent family holiday in the area the overcast weather lead us to dolphins We took 6 children ranging in age from 7-16 and all of them had a ball One of the children was chosen to play ball with the seal and described it as the best day ever While all of us had a great time and received great customer service I was blown away with the care shown to my family member who is in a wheel..

Joanne

My daughter (4) and I would like to thank everyone at the Dolphin Conservation Park for the amazing work you do and the memorable experience you give to the public. All the animals are well taken care of, loved and respected. We had a shallow Dolphin private experience in the water with the gorgeous "Jett" and trainer Alice. I can't tell you how much we loved this incredible experience. It wil..

Jessica Higgins

My 3 kids, my mum and I had the pleasure of swimming with Zippy today, the experience was truly amazing. Seeing and touching a real dolphin was a dream come true. When I booked the experience I expected a long safety talk followed by a quick photo in the pool. What occured was the complete opposite. We played in the water with Zippy, each got to hug him individually. Thank you Jessi..

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