Opportunities and Current Local Action for cetaceans

Marine Conservation International (MCI) in collaboration with the Cayman Islands Department of Environment (DOE) has been conducting research since 2009 on locally occurring Cetaceans around the three Cayman Islands.

The main objectives were to determine baseline population data on resident cetacean species, whilst cataloguing all species occurring in Cayman waters. The relative abundance is very small, with ten cetacean species confirmed from scientific survey methods, public sightings and strandings. The occurrence of several strandings over the past five years led to an investigation into threats facing locally occurring cetaceans; these have been identified above. From data collected by the different methods described above, the spatial and temporal occurrences of cetaceans are mapped and analysed to determine seasonal patterns and congregator areas.

Further on-going activities include educational programs involving local schools, businesses, sport groups and natural history societies. Talks and presentations on cetaceans and their importance to the Cayman Islands are given. Incorporated in the awareness campaign is the production and distribution of educational materials including leaflets and identification charts. Several short televised interviews on cetacean conservation have been released on national television, promoting the project, educational awareness and encouraging the public to participate in reporting sightings. Although cetaceans face little negative stigma, there is a general lack of understanding as to cetacean vulnerabilities to environmental and anthropogenic threats.

A public sightings scheme set up by the DOE and MCI has been of great importance in generating occurrence data for many species. It encourages member of the public to become involved in on-going research work, helping to raise awareness.


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