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, December 9, 2010

Baby Humpbacks!

Over the last four years sightings of humpback dolphins (Sousa chinensis) in Wasini channel have declined. Part of the reason for this could be the wider (and more offshore) survey area we are surveying, whereas humpback dolphins' habitat is close to the coast.

In search of humpback dolphins we travelled west, along the mangroves of the Kenyan mainland. The waters are shallow and the bottom is sandy, ideal for humpback dolphins. In the calm waters we could see for miles, but when we spotted some dolphins they were just 20 meters from the boat. It turned out to be a mother and a newborn, we can tell by the small size of the calf and the swimming pattern of the pair. Soon we realised there was a third dolphin, another calf.

-mother and calf surfacing-

As we studied the behaviour of this small group, we soon realised there was a fourth dolphin, keeping separate from the others. It was a large humpback with multiple scars and marks on its dorsal fin and a disfigured tail. Our boat captain noted that this male has been seen in the Wasini area on many occasions over the last few years, around the coasts we survey.

This was an exceptional day, to re-find humpback dolphins, and to find calves. We will continue to survey the mangroves to the west and also eastwards, to Funzi bay, in order to better understand our humpback habitat.