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

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Baby boom?

Towards the end of our second day of dedicated search dolphins off the coast of Shimoni and Wasini Island, it was not the four nominated spotters who saw the dolphins, but from the back of the boat, Shafii, our boat captain. The pod of Bottlenose Dolphins were sighted 200m off the East coast of Wasini Island.

--Bottlenose dolphins bow-riding at the front of our boat--

The initial small group were soon joined by many more, leading to a best estimate of 30 Bottlenose Dolphins in total. The group comprised of 20 adults, 5 juveniles and 5 calves. This seemed to be an unusually high number of young and is helping facilitate our research into the specific calving intervals and reproductive success of our resident dolphins. The calves were in a playful mood, intrigued by the boat and bow-riding – often without the adults in tow. A wide variety of behaviours were evident throughout the group, but slow travelling and socialising were most prevalent.

--Resident mother and calf--

About 20 minutes into the sighting, we realised there were 3 Humpback Dolphins amongst the Bottlenose. Although much further from the boat, it made the sighting all the more exciting. The humpbacks appeared to be foraging and the vicinity of a fishermen’s net and remained indifferent to the presence of the research boat and the fishing canoes nearby. After 42 minutes the sighting was over with the dolphins heading back to sea. Such a large group of dolphins has not been recorded by GVI since April, so it was truly fantastic to see them return in such numbers to the area.