Transforming a derelict building to a redesigned and newly renovated rehabilitation and research centre. Constructions are ongoing and progress is steadily increasing as more funds are secured. To date, work has been focused on making the building operational as a rehabilitation centre including the installation of the veterinary clinic and rehabilitation pools. Full refurbishment both internally and externally with new flooring, windows, doors and fixtures and fittings were completed and office areas and the general laboratory have been operational since May 2020.
A close collaboration with a team of architects, landscape architects, researchers and students at the John H. Daniels Faculty of Architecture, Landscape and Design, University of Toronto developed a design principle for the coastal rehabilitation and building reuse and renovation of AMLS. An integrated study for Landscape Remediation, Marine Environment Rejuvenation and Building Renovation and Reuse proposes the transformation of an industrial landscape and building into a sustainable system including water retention, anti-erosion, a positive environmental footprint and minimum visual impact and a series of clement, functional spaces for animals in and human stewardship. The architectural design of the AMLS combines advanced materials and traditional building techniques. The UofT team works closely with our project as the various construction phases are completed and designs are adapted.
Inside the AMLS
Addressing an urgent need
As human pressure on the world’s seas and oceans increase, the number of marine animals in need of rehabilitation is growing. As public attitudes changes towards dolphin captivity there is an urgent need for marine sanctuaries. The AMLS will provide:
Rehabilitation of wild animals
An increasing number of marine mammals and sea turtles are stranded or entangled within the Aegean Sea each year. Action is needed to save these animals.
The AMLS veterinary clinic and rehabilitation centre will provide high quality medical care to animals in urgent need, with the objective of releasing them into their natural habitat. If long-term care is needed, they will remain in the sanctuary until they are fully recovered and healthy enough to be able to return to their natural environment.
A First Aid Response Network will be formed through the training of local communities on marine animal first aid, conservation and animal welfare.
Care for formerly captive dolphins
Dolphins in captivity spend their lives in an artificial environment, deprived of their natural habitat and social groups and often suffer from stress related disorders, known as “zoochosis”. These include behavioural abnormalities such as self-mutilation, self-inflicted trauma, repetitive behaviours and excessive aggressiveness.
For decades, the media portrayed the commercial exploitation of dolphins as an activity enjoyed by both animals and humans. Consequently, the public was largely unaware of animal welfare concerns associated with holding dolphins in captivity. However, public perception is changing and sanctuaries are urgently needed to offer a solution for dolphins relocated from captivity. The AMLS, once fully operational, will provide a sustainable solution by offering long-term care and refuge for dolphins displaced due to closure of marine parks.
Education & visitation
As an international centre for research on marine mammals and sea turtles, the AMLS will offer, to scientists, researchers, and students, the opportunity to conduct non-invasive research in a regulated, natural environment. The AMLS will be open to the public on an “invite-only” basis. All visitors will have to follow a strict code of conduct to avoid causing disturbance to the animals under rehabilitation and care.
Visitors and the local community will be encouraged to learn about the sanctuary, rescue, research, conservation, responsible tourism and native and invasive marine species online and at the information centre in the town of Lipsi.
Livestream videos of the animals and their rehabilitation progress, hydrophone recorded dolphin sounds and interactive materials will provide the foundation for the AMLS educational program.
The AMLS will have a viewing platform on a hill above the bay so that visitors can observe the dolphins and other marine animals living in the bay from a distance, preventing any possible disturbances.