Friday 10 December 2010

Walvis Bay Strandings Network

This month, the Walvis Bay Strandings Network finally got some much-needed strandings equipment. In 2009, the Namibian Dolphin Project received a Walvis Municipality Environmental grant to support the network in this way. DDP Industries in Walvis Bay made up the stretcher, and very kindly sponsored the production of a second one also. The equipment also includes buckets and blankets to keep beached animals wet and protected from the sun and wind.
In my final week in town, I carried out a short training session with some of the network's volunteers, to familiarise them with techniques for getting a stranded animal into the stretcher easily (using our inflatable dolphin!), and the important things to remember in the refloatation process. For example, once a stretchered animal has been brought to the water, it needs time to get used to the water again and to start to use its swimming muscles again, before removing the stretcher support.
The strandings gear is looked after by Strandings Network members and anyone who finds a stranded whale, dolphin or turtle in the Walvis Bay - Swakopmund area should contact Sandwich Harbour Tours or Mola Mola Tours in Walvis Bay. Many thanks to the Walvis Bay Municipality, George Wolfaardt at DDP Industries, Simon Wearne, John Paterson, Naude Dreyer, Francois du Toit and all the network members and volunteers who have given freely of their time for stranded animals. Keep up the good work!

Thursday 2 December 2010

So long, and thanks for all the (big) fish!

The C-PODs, now less mussel-encrusted than when they were retrieved, went back in the water today at Aphrodite Beach and Pelican Point. We now have over a year and a half of data on patterns of dolphin habitat use at these two sites, which will provide huge insight into seasonal patterns in habitat use by Heaviside's and bottlenose dolphins.

As my month of fieldwork draws to a close, I wanted to take the opportunity to thank the many people and organisations who have helped me and supported the project.There are some people here in Namibia, and especially in Walvis Bay, without which I could not achieve what I come here to do. These people give freely of their time, resources, company and advice, and always renew my faith in human nature by their generosity. My great appreciation to the following people and organisations –

Sandra Knop – du bist ein Stern. Gert Le Roux and the team at Namib Diving – for your invaluable assistance over the past two years; also Andries of Alucraft Construction for providing a boat at short notice. John and Barbara Paterson, Jean-Paul Roux at the Ministry of Fisheries and Marine Resources, Jeanne Meintjes of Eco Marine Kayak Tours for your local knowledge, enthusiasm, and for many kayak trips and providing me with wheels!, Francois du Toit, Katja and Naude Dreyer, Heiko Metzger and family. Baie Dankie!