Saturday, February 09, 2008

Risso dolphin's carcass was discovered on the shore

Ghajn Tuffieha Bay, part of a Conservation Area, is where a Risso’s dolphin’s carcass was washed ashore and reported to the Malta Environment and Planning Authority inspectorate last Saturday. The Risso’s Dolphin is an offshore species and is characterised by a rounded head and large body, growing to about four metres in length.

As part of Malta’s Cetacean Stranding protocol, persons with a specific MEPA permit may assist, examine, measure and collect samples for further research. Cetacean researcher Adriana Vella from the Conservation Biology Research Group (CBRG) of the University of Malta, and members from the Biological Conservation Research Foundation (BICREF), have been collaborating to promote scientific whale and dolphin field research and conservation in Maltese waters and in the Central Mediterranean Region.

As such the collection of data from dead stranded specimens is a reasonable complement to such ongoing local detailed fieldwork. The CBRG also makes use of molecular genetics analyses in its conservation research, and therefore has been collecting tissue samples from local dead stranded cetaceans for population studies in the region towards better understanding the links between various groups residing in the central Mediterranean.

The local merging of both field-work and sophisticated laboratory techniques, allows for maximum efficiency in understanding the conservation needs of these marine mammal species we are still privileged to find in our waters. Dr Vella has run the local long-term field cetacean research in this region of the Mediterranean since 1997, and is the National contact person for the European Cetacean Society and a partner of ACCOBAMS.

Quick "Facts about Dolphins"