A few facts about dolphins:

* Considered to be among the most intelligent animals,
dolphins are aquatic mammals. The 40 species vary in
size from 1.2 metres (4 ft) to 9.5 metres (30 ft) and weigh
from 40 kg to 10 tonnes. They are carnivores, eating
mainly fish and squid.

* Dolphins are highly social and move in groups, called
schools or pods, of about 20 to several hundred. They are
found worldwide in the shallow seas of the continental
shelves.

* Breeding appears to peak in spring and autumn.
Gestation period lasts 10 to 11 months and new-borns are
about one metre long. They reach sexual maturity at three
years old.

* Scientists have developed an artificial insemination
technique.

* Dolphins are reported to have been used by military and
intelligence agencies ranging from finding undersea
mines, locating submarines to rescuing trapped divers.

The UN Convention on Migratory Species had declared 2007
as the Year of The Dolphin. This will be part of the United
Nations Education programme for Sustainable
Development; a campaign under Prince Albert II of
Monaco, involving non-governmental organisations and
the private sector. This is working in conjunction with the
Whale and Dolphin Conservation Society to highlight the
need to protect dolphin species. The groups plan to
organize various pro-dolphin events around the world.

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