Tuesday 22 June 2010

If you're on Facebook, check out the Namibian Dolphin Project page for more photos from out current field season.

Here are a few of the small humpback whale that stranded alive near the desalination plant north of Swakopmund last week. It died soon afterward we first saw it, and we returned to collect some samples from the animal for further study.

Wednesday 16 June 2010

The blog is going to start filling up again! We haven't had much internet at the house where we base the office, and it's been a pretty hectic start to the season. Dolphins coming and going as usual, but we've got the hydrophone in at Sandwich Harbour again (Thanks to Ingo of Pelican Tours for lending us his dinghy!) and we've seen at least two known Heaviside's again, including the animal that was injured so badly last season by a boat propeller - and he's completely healed (you can just see the scarring on his body below)!
This season we're a much bigger team than normal and we've got 5 interns working with us here through Oceans Research. This has allowed us to start a new project collecting data from shore on the bottlenose dolphins (so there is no bias from the boats at all), as well as get more info from the tour boats themselves and get that back log of data under control! We've also had a few strandings and well, there's lots going on. I'm going to let the interns put it in there words from here on:

Namibian Dolphin Project by Melanie Ngo

The interns arrived on the 1st of June and I am one out of the six that get to experience this wonderful opportunity. For the past few weeks, we have done a lot of work on shore and on the water in Walvis Bay, Namibia. We are having an amazing time with the Heaviside dolphins and the bottlenose dolphins each time we are at sea and on land. It is and will always be a thrilling excitement every time we encounter these animals, no matter how many times we have seen them before we enjoy their company out at sea. When I see the expression on Simon’s face every time we spotted the dolphins, it reminds me of the face kids make when you bribe them with candy and he has been working with these animals for a couple of years now.

We have taken pictures of the Heaviside's and bottlenose dolphin’s dorsal fin for photo ID, observed their behavior in the water and on land, and observed the number of birds and bird species in certain areas on the beach to look at the impact of beach users. Most of the time, the dolphins are very friendly, socializing with us and each other, they were jumping and spy hopping, swimming alongside the boat, bow riding, swimming underneath and around the boat, overall they are having a good time in their own home. There were a few days we did not go out on the boat due to the weather, but that did not stop us from doing work around the office. We have had long days out on the boat and on land, we’ll come back exhausted, but love every minute of our time with the dolphins and that keeps our energy up for the rest of the day.