The ‘Report a Sighting’ program really works…

…and is providing invaluable information for the UAE Dolphin Project!

We have now received over 166 sightings through our website and social media pages since the UAE Dolphin Project website launched in December 2012. This is a huge success, considering we started from scratch! Most importantly, this proves how the public can really make a difference for the research by reporting their dolphin and whale sightings.

Here’s how you; the public are helping with vital research for the UAE Dolphin Project research. Since the end of February the research team has not sighted any dolphins in Dubai coastal waters despite regular transect surveys being conducted in the area. However, thanks to the public reporting their sightings, we know that both bottlenose and humpback dolphins were in Dubai waters at the beginning of March. This gives us an indication of a possible date when the dolphins disappeared from the area. Have they left? To where and for how long? These are still questions that need answering.

On a more positive note, it is now the second time that from pictures sent to us by a member of the public we have been able to identify and track certain individuals. Paso, a bottlenose dolphin, was spotted for the first time with another individual, Trigger, through a video sent in by a member of the public. These individuals were clearly identifiable because of the marks and characteristics on their dorsal fins: Paso has the top of the fin missing, while Trigger has a big notch clearly recognisable even from a distance. We met Paso again in October, travelling with a mother, calf and a juvenile dolphin, but no Trigger. Flipper is a humpback dolphin that also has distinct features on his dorsal fin which makes him recognisable: Flipper was  sighted by the research team in November and December, and thanks to a picture sent by the public, he was seen again in March. Interestingly Flipper has always been seen in the same area, close to the shore between Dubai Offshore Sailing Club and Jumeirah Beach Park.

We have also received many pictures of dolphins from Abu Dhabi recently, and we have started to put together a catalogue of individuals from that area… Do dolphins that spend time in Dubai waters also appear in Abu Dhabi coastal waters? Watch this space!

A big thank you to all of our supporters that have sent in their dolphin sightings, without your help we would not have been able to collect vital data which is imperative to the research! Thank You!

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