Public learn dolphin survey techniques at Saadiyat

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Feature: Ayse Demirer

The Saadiyat land based survey was initiated with a workshop with the target of providing the volunteers a basic training in the principle of dolphin survey and the practical procedures. The workshop was held on December 12th at the Park Hyatt Hotel and Villas, Abu Dhabi and conducted by Dr. Ada Natoli and Ayse Demirer, director and researcher at the UAE Dolphin Project. Students from New York University as well as new and past volunteers from different background attended the workshop and we were very happy to see so many people with an interest in dolphin conservation and research.

During the workshop the participants were introduced to general concepts of dolphin and whale biology, dolphin species recognitions and the targets of the survey, as well as the basic concepts of a dolphin land based monitoring technique, data entry and analysis process. The final part was a practical session where utilising videos of dolphin sighting, the participants where divided into groups and had to practise entering behavioural data into the data sheets. However, the volunteers were able to get an unplanned first-hand experience as the workshop was interrupted by a dolphin sighting in front of the Park Hyatt! We went to the beach to observe the dolphins and we used the opportunity to further explain the steps and challenges of our field work. Finally we went up to our observation point on the rooftop bar of the Park Hyatt where we explained the collection of environmental data and the set up of the survey station.

We would like to thank the Park Hyatt Hotel and Villas Abu Dhabi for hosting the workshop as well as all participants for their time and interest! It was definitely a successful start for our new survey!

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