The franciscana (Pontoporia blainvillei) probably used to be the most abundant species of dolphin in the southeastern and southern coast of Brazil, and the closest to our shores. Paradoxically, though it is close to coastal populations, the franciscana is little known, which hampers the deepening of conversations and social engagement for the protection of the species and its ecosystems.

Popularizing the franciscana and raising awareness of the threats affecting it are important challenges to the conservation of this small dolphin, one of the most threatened of the South Atlantic Ocean. Communication, an inherent act of human development, plays a fundamental role in this process. Thinking about how to insert these themes in the social agenda, in order to create spaces which foster debate, is an important strategy for conservation.

The communication of Toninhas do Brasil is conceived upon this background. In order to translate and approximate discourses, we use concepts of network and of communication techniques that are to different publics to break existing barriers between the different natures of knowledge. Our goal is to join strengths to build bridges, looking for an horizontalized and approachable transmission, one that takes into consideration the diversity of ways of learning.

The project’s communication has as its core mission making the species a symbol, a flagship, an icon of the countrie’s coastal regions, associating its presence to the quality of life of (and within) these environments. The goal is to popularize the species and, simultaneously, insert the issue into the social contexts of the populations that coinhabit their territories. In a broader sense, protecting and conserving the franciscana should not be seen as a one-off goal, since marine and coastal environment are also threatened.

Grupo de cerca de 50 crianças brincam de roda em dois círculos no gramado durante o evento maratoninha que aconteceu em Garopaba (SC) em 2018.
Group of about 50 children playing in two circles on a lawn, during a marathon in Garopaba (Santa Catarina) in 2018.
Cinegrafista da NSCTV, afiliada da Rede Globo, grava pesquisador do Toninhas do Brasil para matéria sobre as toninhas
Videographer from NSCTV, a Globo Network affiliate, records a researcher from Toninhas do Brasil for a piece about franciscanas.