It’s been a busy August for the Dolphin Team in Ponta do Ouro, Mozambique.
Although (some of us) buckle under the cold of winter, the chilly Indian Oceans waters are alive. In August we have had 42 sightings of cetaceans during the 19 launches we have undertaken. Most notable are of course the mighty humpback whales who can be seen and heard on just about all tours at the moment.
Our local Dolphins of Ponta were sighted throughout the month and we are happy to report large pods meandering up and down the coastline. A stark contrast to July which found busy seas, an unprecedented amount of no-sightings on tours (7 throughout July) and angry adult male dolphins who went out of their way to let us know we were not welcome. Subsequently we have had encounters with Elvis, Theo, Nemo and DJ who took part in these ‘open-jaw’ event’s and it would seem everything has returned back to normal again.
There have been a number of southern right whale sightings along the east coast of Africa this year. We observed a mommy and babe resting in the coastal shallows, a rare and unusual sighting. The Dolphin Team is still at a bit of a loss as to confirm what was wrong with her calf with feedback ranging from dorsal ridges, malnutrition, foetal folds and a ship strike…Let us know what your take on thisPygmy Killer Whales where spotted much to our joy offshore in the deep; while watching some humpback whales we noticed the pod of some 20 individuals cruising next to the boat and were able to capture some great images to confirm species. This is the third sighting of this species in Mozambican watersWe have had a number of volunteers on site assisting on the boat with tours collecting, entering and uploading data with WCA Partner HappyWhale being our main focus. We are currently in the process of uploading all our whale flukes in hope that someday we will get a match!
Cassie, after completing the Responsible Whale Watching Guide Course with the World Cetacean Alliance was given the once in a lifetime opportunity to come out to Mozambique to volunteer with us, read about her experience here…
Mozambican biologist Diana Rocha is currently completing her dissertation where she is evaluating the impacts of Cetacean based Tourism our local Dolphins of Ponta. Using data supplied by the research on vessel traffic, data collected on commercial cetacean based tours and tourist questionnaires she concludes that there has been a 68% increase in boat traffic out of Ponta do Ouro alone and swim class and avoidance showed strong changes between 2008 & 2017. The increase of tourism, CBT and vessel traffic has had a negative impact on the resident population of dolphins and although the impacts are not sufficient to drive the population away it has altered their day-to-day routine and tolerance to humans. The poster was displayed at the recent AMMC hosted in Port Elizabeth South Africa.
Heading into September we are looking forward to Synchronised Whale Watching Day and two beach clean-up events for International Coastal Clean-up and World Clean-up Day!