There are several aspects to whale and dolphin monitoring and research efforts at each of our three islands, including monitoring of whale and dolphin numbers in adjacent waters, which contributes to regional and international datasets on population and conservation status of species found in each region. Of particular interest around Vamizi Island is a semi-resident pod of the rare and highly endangered Indian Ocean Humpback Dolphin, which are regularly sighted near the island.
Passive Acoustic Monitoring, whereby high powered underwater microphones (hydrophones) are deployed beneath the sea surface, is also being used in the area to detect and monitor the presence of whales and dolphins in the region. The method allows for the detection of different species and their relative abundance, which can help inform practice and policy regarding sea-based activities in the area.
For example, understanding the timing and location of key migratory routes and breeding or nursery areas of humpback whales, can limit the impacts of oil and gas drilling and exploration by timing noise polluting activities and boat traffic to minimise their impacts on the whales.
The recording of whale songs and vocalisations at Vamizi is also being used in a regional study of whale population dynamics and movement patterns, and to better understand population-level differences in humpback whale songs.