Penn and Brian Balmer with Kate and Gracie, my dogs, sunset on roof of house I rented October, 2013 for “Inexpensive” photo survey on Mexico Beach, Florida. Five years later Category 5 Hurricane Michael destroyed the house down to its concrete slab. Photo credit Sharron Reeves 

Our Work

Hi My name is Penn Clarke, the founder of Dolphin Relief & Research. Ever since I had a close encounter with Bottlenosed Dolphins in the Bahamas in 1976, I’ve wanted to know more about them. Working with scientists and researchers all over the world who study marine mammals has been the joy of my life. Now I want to give back for all the dolphins have given to me.

Bottlenosed dolphin projects Penn Clarke has worked on

September 1983 to October 1986 Penn Clarke owned lived on and operated a 51 foot sailboat in the Caribbean Bahamas and East Coast of the United States.

Penn at the top middle and Brian at far right during capture release September 2015. These are the interesting people that I worked with catching, doing health assessments, satellite tagging and releasing bottlenose dolphins, the two-week 02 RETPAHC research project was located mostly in the Atlantic Ocean off Brunswick, Georgia. We used six boats to accomplish this, going out each morning around

7:00 am and getting back to the dock as late as 6:00 pm. Photo credit GA DNR

Sickest Dolphins in the World

I worked with 60+ scientfic people in August 2009 and 50+ in 2015 from all over the USA who came together on the same Brunswick-area waters. We were doing a Bottlenose Dolphin Health and Risk Assessment, HERA, in 2009 and a Dolphin Morbillivirus (DMV) in 2015. They represented NOAA, National Marine Mammal Foundation (NMMF), Dolphin RnR, 5+ veterinarians, Sarasota Dolphin Research Program, the CDC, University of Georgia, Savannah State University, University of Florida, North Carolina State University, University of Connecticut, University of California, Georgia Aquarium, St. Augustine Marine Land, Atlantis, SeaWorld, GA DNR, and LUCKY ME.

From June 1987 to March 1988, an outbreak of cetacean morbillivirus from New Jersey to Florida led to the stranding of at least 667 bottlenose dolphins. Dolphin morbillivirus, DMV, is a severe combination of pneumonia, encephalitis and damage to the immune system, which greatly impairs the dolphin’s ability to swim and stay a oat unassisted. Another major die-off occurred from July 2013 to March 2015 when over 1600 stranded from DMV along the same East coast

Dolphins Hiapo and Elele with Dave Weller teaching them at private tanks in Sea Life Park on Oahu 1987.  Photo credit Kitty Donnan 

March 1987 dolphin communications University of Hawaii program with Akeakamai & Phoenix at Honolulu Aqarium who had been taught sign language.

Hiapo & Elele who had just been caught from the same group of dolphins in the Gulf of Mexico off of Mississippi where Akeakamai & Phoenix had been caught eight years before. Hiapo & Elele were in a pool away from the public at Sea Life Park.

Scientists Louis Herman, Adam Pack, Dave Weller and Mark Xitco

October 1989. The Dolphin Project photographs and identifies the bottlenose dolphins on the Georgia and southern South Carolina coasts. Penn Clarke a working member of this all volunteer organization for 20 years.

March 1992 group structure of wild bottlenose dolphins in relation to habitat. Golfo Dulce off the city of Golfito, Costa Rica.

Scientist Alejandro Acevedo

  • April 1997 through January 2008 Penn Clarke owned lived on and operated a 38 foot sailboat in the Bahamas, Gulf of Mexico and East Coast of the United States.
  • March 2002 help Diane Claridge proform a necropsy on a dead Beaked Whale on Hope Town, Bahamas and get a hotel to freeze the head and eardrums as part of Ken Balcomb and her study.
  • March 31, 2009 see the birth of a wild dolphin calf with the mother pushing it to the surface to breathe with its dorsal fin still down on the Folly River west of Sapelo Island Georgia. NOAA boat with Brian Balmer, Kate Sparks and Suzanne Lane.
  • August 2009 NOAA health assessment of bottlenose dolphins around Sapelo Island and Brunswick Georgia. Capture radio tag and release 14 bottlenose dolphins with 50 people and six boats involved.
  • November 2008 through October 2009 – on and off work with Brian Balmer, who is getting his PhD for this project, studying bottlenose dolphin in the Sapelo Island and Brunswick Georgia area.
  • January 2010 – help Dr. Kathleen Dudzinski & Wu-Jung Lee film and record 24 dolphins living as a group at Anthony’s Key Resort, Roatan, Honduras. Kathleen has been studying dolphin communication since 1992. Wu-Jung works for Woods Hole & is getting her PhD at MIT studying broadband sonar signals by both dolphins & humans.

Long-term trends in a northern Gulf of Mexico common bottlenose dolphin (Tursiops truncatus) population in the wake of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill


Scientific Article by Brian Balmer, PhD

Penn Clarke, Contributor

Dolphins have been interacting with humans for as long as we have known of their existence. Even though we all agree that Dolphins are wonderful creatures that seem to be extremely intelligent and friendly, we still are a huge threat for dolphins.

Having a deeper knowledge and information about dolphins is the first step towards a better conservation and understanding of these wonderful mammals. Also, this information is our weapon and even a little contribution of $5 will help to fight dolphin killing and habitat damage.

Donate today to help these wonderful creatures