Welcome to the Marine Mammal and wildlife Research and Community Development Expedition blog where you can keep up to date with all the happenings and information from Kenya

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Dugongs are back on Kenya's south coast

Before we move completely in to a new and exciting of year of GVI and Kenya, some of our research and community development team have put together their highlights and memories of the end of last year to share. So, from the research boat, Bardan...

Not forgetting the beautiful humpback whales, including their calves, that we saw and blogged during our first couple of weeks on the marine research programme back in October, the rest was equally exciting. On many occasions we could count ourselves lucky enough to spend time in the wake of large groups of Indian Ocean bottlenose dolphins... the coolest part though? Thanks to a lot of office time and more photographs of fins than we care to dwell on, we could recognise many of the dolphins and know them by name!

Mothers, juveniles, calves all leaped from the water demonstrating elegance and playfulness in equal measure. Indo-pacific humpback dolphins also put in an appearance but remarkably... and for the first time ever... the cetaceans (our whales and dolphins) were upstaged by another marine mammal. And one that we never truly, honestly expected to see, however much we had hoped. On 4th November 2008, our dedicated observers on board Bardan, whilst tracking bottlenose dolphins in to Funzi bay, recorded the first confirmed sighting of a dugong on Kenya's south coast in the three years we have been here, and to our knowledge, in over a decade; none were recorded south of Mombasa in a 1998 aerial survey, whilst Kenya's entire population, concentrated around the Lamu archipelago, could be down to single figures by now.