Monday, 28 November 2016. Today is the start of my last week in Tenerife, after enjoying 3 weeks on this volunteer project. So here are my thoughts on the project.
We go on whale watching boats 3-4 times a week to take notes of the cetaceans. This includes size, behaviour, species seen and those in a group. Most of this takes place in the south-eastern region of Tenerife as the rift between the two Canarian Islands Tenerife and La Gomera creates a nice sheltered place for female adult mammals to give birth and care-take their calves. Another reason why the cetaceans’ population here is so high is that the water in this rift is very nutrient rich.
The most common species found here is the short-finned pilot whale, with Tenerife hosting the second greatest population in the world, and dolphins.
Sometimes the size of the groups are insane, you can hardly count them. The highest number I have seen so far is at least 20, probably more. Counting the individuals becomes particularly difficult when it comes to dolphins, as they move very fast. The dolphins are also much more interactive and playful with the boats. They breach, spy hob and bow ride in front of the boat, whereas pilot whales are resting on the surface of the water a lot of the time.
I also got to see one of the bigger whales. It might have been either been a sei whale Balaenoptera borealis or a Bryde’s whale Balaenoptera brydei. It was an amazing sight as it appeared just a few metres from the boat.
All in all, this was a wonderful experience for me.
Elena Mittendorfer - Whale & Dolphin Conservation Volunteer
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