Nature Foundation, Visiting Scientists to Host Workshop on the Identification of Whales and Dolphins

On the third of December from one thirty until four pm a workshop will be held at the Nature Foundation Office in Cole Bay which will provide information on how best to identify whale and dolphin species around St. Maarten. Meike Scheidat and Steve Geelhoed from the Dutch research institute IMARES, which part of Wageningen University in the Netherlands will give a short presentation about marine mammals in general and how to recognize local species using video and photos. The workshop is also an opportunity to exchange ideas and discuss experiences with whales and dolphins in the Caribbean.


The Nature Foundation and the Saba Conservation Foundation have yearly Marine Mammal Sighting Programs in which valuable information on marine mammals around the islands have been gathered. The Caribbean is rich in whales and dolphins and many people see them but unfortunately many sightings are not recorded. To get to know more about the distribution of these magnificent animals, their seasonal pattern and their numbers the collecting and recording of sightings is important and can be done by anyone going to sea.

"Every sighting is valuable, but they are even more valuable when the species is identified. Ideally, a sighting contains information on species, date, time, place, number, behavior, calves, pictures and videos. This workshop focuses on identification of species. It will help people to identify all those small grey dolphins they encounter," stated one of the researchers.

The workshop is primarily for seagoing people who could encounter a whale or a dolphin, but all are welcome. Entrance is free, but if you want to attend, please send an email to ma*****@na*****************.org and st************@wu*.nl