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Abundance and site fidelity of humpback whales (Megaptera novaeangliae) population in Esmeraldas, Ecuador

2012Abundance and site fidelity of humpback whales (Megaptera novaeangliae) population in Esmeraldas, Ecuador.GLADEK CIOLFI PINTO Ljudmila (Brazil)milagladek@gmail.com
Organisation:Christian Albrechts University, Kiel (DE) - University San Francisco de Quito, Quito (EC)Supervisor :
Summary: Whale watching activities are increasing all around the world just as at the coast of Ecuador. Meanwhile, local fishing activities cause numerous and deleterious entanglements involving reproductive females and calves of humpback whales, which jeopardizes its population, the tourism (i.e. whale watching) and some ecotourism-related activities. A recent study showed that the bycatch problem seems to be far more severe and can pose a serious threat for the east pacific humpback whales. For this reason, it is necessary to estimate the population size and study their movements during the breeding season to create tools for better management. In this sense, here I aim to study residence pattern using own observations and an existing ID catalogue of different breading areas established in 1996. Photographs of the flukes will be taken from July 1st 2012 to August 30th 2012, from platforms of opportunity (i.e. whale watching vessels) with a digital SLR camera Nikon D 5100 and Tamron lenses 70-300mm. Only good quality pictures (where the fluke was captured in the right angle and no blur was detected) will be used for comparison, and matched with the existing ID catalogue. Interannual and seasonal resightings will be accounted for individuals already in the catalogue, and from these data, residence pattern and site fidelity were estimated. With data from 2002 to 2012, Petersen’s mark-recapture method with Bailey’s modification (with replacement) will be performed to estimate population size. The results and the discussion are presented later.
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