Posted on behalf of Cara Miller
WDCS is working with the Fiji Fisheries Department, WWF, the University of the South Pacific, SPREP and the Australian Government to undertake humpback whale migrations surveys and cetacean diversity research in the Fiji Islands. A group of 17 Fisheries Officers, ngo's, researchers, students, community members and volunteers set sail on the traditional Pacific boat, the Uto ni Yalo with the Fiji Islands Voyaging Society to the project sites in Levuka and Makogai last Friday morning. Conditions were relatively calm and there was much excitement as the group made the 8 hour crossing to Levuka. Excitement increased as a minke whale was encountered along the trip.
Since surveys have started there have been many cetacean sightings. The Makogai site has seen numerous humpback whale pods every day and have also managed to collect some fluke identification images. The Levuka crew has also been busy. They have seen numerous large pods of spinner dolphins, a minke whale, a sperm whale and also have made a tentative record of a pygmy or dwarf sperm whale. This is the first record for diminuitive sperm whales in Fijian waters. Levuka has also been visited by numerous pods of humpbacks including a mother and calf pair. The Levuka researchers have also managed to collect some humpback whale song recordings aboard the Uto ni Yalo. These early survey results demonstrate a great start to the project. We anticipate more valuable results ... and are hoping that the weather will continue to be excellent for whale and dolphin sightings.
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