Idelisa Bonnelly de Calventi, mother of marine conservation, dies

The biologist and scientist Idelisa Bonnelly de Calventi, considered the mother of marine conservation in the Caribbean for her dedication to the protection of the ecosystem and environment, passed away this Sunday.

Bonnelly, who was a deserving professor and researcher at the Autonomous University of Santo Domingo (UASD), he died at the age of 90.

Recognized worldwide for her defense of the oceans and Caribbean marine biodiversity, she was the founder of the School of Biology and the Idelisa Bonnelly de Calventi Marine Biology Research Center (Cibima), during the renewal movement of the UASD.

From the Cibima, multiple investigations were carried out to value the ecosystems, reefs, mangroves and seagrass meadows.

Bonelly, a native of Santiago de los Caballeros, championed the fight for the protection of humpback whales that came to Dominican waters to reproduce and feed.

In 1986, the Banco de la Plata was declared a “National Sanctuary” being this the first of its kind in the entire North Atlantic region and the most important protected area for humpback whales, dolphins, manatees and other species in danger of extinction.

A biographical review published by UN Women in 2015 indicates that at a very young age he came to live with his family in the city of Santo Domingo, the capital of the country, staying in front of the sea, starting there his love for the marine world.

After retiring as Professor Emeritus of the UASD, she founded the Dominican Foundation for Marine Studies (Fundemar), from where she promoted work for the strengthening of the National System of Protected Areas, the conservation of threatened or endangered species, among these the Humpback Whales, creating the first museum room of this species, worked on the solution of coastal pollution problems in a synergy between research and education.

Recognized with the Madame Curie Medal, awarded by UNESCO. Also with the Order of Merit of Duarte, Sánchez and Mella, in the degree of Commander in 2011. She also won, in 1988, the National Prize for Sciences awarded by the Academy of Sciences of the Dominican Republic and the Medal of Merit of the Dominican woman in the Science sector in 1986. In 2018, she received the main award as a researcher in the nation.

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