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, April 19, 2012

Kenyan dolphins going the distance

After five years of studying dolphin populations, we are beginning to unravel dolphin travel patterns and movement. Bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops aduncus), might stay in the calmer, more sheltered waters in Southern Kenya, almost on the border with Tanzania for six months of the year, and then when the North-east monsoon winds start, at least some swim two-hundred kilometers over a span of only two days to reach the North Coast of Kenya.

These new findings are a direct result of a recent collaboration initiative, the Kenya Marine Mammal Network (KMMN). The KMMN was founded and supported by GVI who are conducting the first and only long term marine mammal research programme in partnership with the Kenya Wildlife Service, as well as several marine and turtle conservation groups, sport fishing and diving companies along the coast. All groups report sightings directly to the Network, who then compiles and analyses the data.

Posters and leaflets are spread along the coast
As one of the GVI researchers put it: “This goes to show how globalization, development and efficient communication contribute to conservation and a better understanding of the living world. It also illustrates the development of Africa as a continent. Only ten years ago, research like this would have been absolutely inconceivable for Kenya.”

Periodical movement of dolphins over large distances is not new but has never been reported in this part of East-Africa. With increasing pressure on coastal areas a better understanding of marine life and conservation priorities is crucial.

The Kenya Marine Mammal Network now connects members and non-members trough Facebook which is another leap forward in communication and collaboration.

Within three days of  launching the Facebook group the group now has more then 100 members.