Happy New Year! A lot has happened since our last newsletter!
Unfortunately we have had five more strandings in the Bahamas - although they appear unrelated, this is still of concern. In more cheerful news, we helped our Florida colleagues track a tagged manatee that swam across the Gulf Stream to the Bahamas - we successfully located 'Washburn' upon her arrival in Abaco, and reported her to be in good condition.
We have had some great sighting reports from the public, including a humpback whale off Sandy Point, and have had several encounters with dwarf sperm whales, Blainville's beaked whales, bottlenose dolphins, and two different manatees on the few winter boat days we have been lucky enough to have. We also published a new manuscript on odontocete echolocation.
Finally, we said goodbye to our employee, Felice Knowles, who has returned to live in Nassau; she was a wonderful asset to our organisation and we wish her the best of luck!
Save the date - Sunday 2nd April - BMMRO fun-raiser! See flyer below ..
A growing concern from the recent strandings is that some of the carcasses were tampered with in an apparent attempt to find ambergris. Please remember that it is illegal to handle a marine mammal, dead or alive in the Bahamas. Also, only sperm whales create ambergris, and only a small proportion of them. We would like to thank everyone who helped with these strandings. (Photos: top left, bottlenose dolphin, Eleuthera, photo by Sally Gamble; top right, juvenile sperm whale, Great Harbour Cay, photo by Frenchie; middle left, pilot whale, Mayaguana, photo by Patrick Collie; middle right, unidentified marine mammal, Nassau, photo courtesy of the Department of Marine Resources; bottom, false killer whale, Duck Cay, Abaco, photo by David Rees).
Photos above show Washburn, who swam to the Bahamas from Florida in November, read about the story here, and a picture of Randy from February in Hope Town harbour, complete with orange bottom paint on his head from him presumably eating algae off the boat's bottom.
A great picture of the Humpback sighting off Sandy Point, Abaco, thank you Brad.
And finally .. check out our fundraiser coming up in April - flyer below!