The first nationwide whale and dolphin census on 20 June was deemed a success by organisers. Winter is an excellent time to spot migrating whales, and despite rough seas and limited visibility in some parts of the South Island, coordinator Christine Rose says people from all over the country took to kayaks, coastlines and clifftops in the hopes of seeing a cetacean.
Christine says the Cetacean Census, organised through the Cetacean Spotting NZ Facebook page, was timed to coincide with the peak northward humpback whale migration. More than 100 people in around 40 locations, including Waiheke, took part in the citizen science project.
Christine, who worked to protect Bryde’s whales from ship strikes in the Hauraki Gulf, says that the census will help to provide insight into New Zealand’s whale and dolphin diversity, and population changes.
“Whales were decimated by commercial whaling until just a few decades ago. Our survey aims to create a long-term study repeated year on year, to see if a hoped-for recovery can be seen.
“The public love to see whales and dolphins, and this way they can contribute to science while they look for them.” • Sophie Boladeras
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