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

Friday, December 20, 2013

Remini'sea'ing 2013 on the GVI Marine Project

As we come to the end of another great year at GVI Shimoni Kenya, we will highlight the exciting moments that we have had here and on the Marine project in particular and what we can look forward to in the coming year.
At the beginning of the year GVI Kenya's marine research program was featured in the East African magazine SWARA article 'The Big Five of the Ocean' alongside partners KWS, WMA, KMFRI and KASA. http://www.scribd.com/doc/130125332/Marine-Research-Programme-in-SWARA-Magazine
Earlier this year KWS held a Turtle committee conservation meeting bringing together members from Turtle Conservation Groups in the Southern coast of Kenya. The meeting was to bring together the groups to discuss the current situation of turtle conservation as well as the future.
 GVI provided information from boat based surveys and turtle transects on their spatial distribution in and around the Kisite MPA. In March, GVI had a staff member collaborating with our partners the Watamu Marine Association and helping them to analyse their data and put together the catalogue which now has upto 100 individuals.

   In July, GVI Kenya had the first ever recording of a Dwarf Minke whale in Kenyan waters. This rorqual whale happened to be passing through the Wasini Channel when our Sharp eyed boat captain Faridi spotted this rather large dolphin like cetacean.
   August was the peak Humpback whale season and GVI had a total of 25 sightings during the season accounting for a total of 56 individuals. The team participated in the Synchronised Whale Watching Day (SWWD) for the second year, with only a record of 3 Humpback whales for that day. We were featured again in SWARA magazine for one of our Humpback whale photos and as contributors during the SWWD. In September, the whole GVI team in Shimoni participated in the International Coastal cleanup day along with students from 4 Primary schools and a total of approximately 1.5tonnes of rubbish was collected.

In November, there were two events:  GVI collaborated with WWF in providing training to three personnel members on Marine mammal identification and data collection over a period of three days. 
Also in this month, the Kenya Marine Mammal Network held the very first workshop, bringing together current as well as prospective members of the network. GVI along with WMA and other members provided input on the status of Marine Mammals along the Kenyan coast and also highlighting the major gaps in lack of data in between Watamu and Kisite as well as North of the coast in Lamu.

The first KMMN workshop in Mombasa

Training WWF

We have collected a total of 52 hours of behaviour on Bottlenose dolphins this year; the surveys were boat based and were only able to be done during the calm season. We observed their behaviour in the presence as well as in the absence of Tourist boats and what effect they have on them.Throughout the year the GVI Marine team has been
teaching environmental classes (Earth Club) at Mkwiro primary school with Std.6. They have been taught about Sharks, Cetaceans, Mangroves (of which they entered an art competition and five art pieces were printed in next year’s annual calendar of Mangrove Action Plan).
In the coming year, we are hoping to collect more hours of behaviour on Bottlenose dolphins and also to increase our participation in global events together with Mkwiro primary school (e.g World Oceans day). We will also be carrying out workshops with the local boat operators on Humpback whales: behaviour and how to drive around whales as well as information on Dolphins and the code of conduct.
 We are also going to be collaborating some more with WWF and provide more training to the captains on how to drive around dolphins and other data collection methods as a follow up of the training provided in November this year. We will also be carrying out Reef fish surveys and more water bird surveys. We will continue collecting data on cetaceans found in the Kisite MPA and possibly more collaborations with partners.We are looking forward to another successful year. We wish you a wonderful holiday!