La Réserve naturelle de Saint-Martin est une aire marine protégée de 30km2 située au nord-est de l’île de Saint-Martin. Créé en 1998, cet espace préserve les cinq principaux écosystèmes de l’île : récifs coralliens, mangroves, herbiers de phanérogames, étangs et forêt sèche littorale. La Réserve gère également les 14 étangs du Conservatoire du littoral et ses 11 km de rivages terrestres naturels.

A photo album of a family of whales

A very white caudal fin
A very white caudal fin

As the representative of AGOA Sanctuary in Saint-Martin, the Reserve has an especially soft spot for marine mammals, and conducts annual scientific monitoring programs each year. Since 2003, the Reserve has managed to put together a large portfolio of photographs taken on their field trips out at sea. In amongst these photos are some valuable shots of humpback whales’ dorsal and caudal (tail) fins, which can be used as accurate identification cards for each animal. The idea is to be able to identify an animal visually as it’s moving around, without having to disturb it. Similar catalogues exist elsewhere and have enabled scientists to recognize, by comparing two identical photos, that a specific whale observed in Cape Verde was then seen in Guadeloupe, for example. To improve their knowledge on marine mammals, the Reserve is currently working on a catalog of identification photos taken around Saint-Martin and Sint Maarten. Marion BarrauMarion Barrau, a fourth year student from the veterinary university of UAX, in Madrid, spent her summer preparing this catalog that today identifies 35 humpback whales, as well as 25 bottlenose dolphins. These photos were taken by the Reserve team and also by several eco-volunteers and other marine mammal enthusiasts. Marion invites all whale and dolphin lovers to send their photos of caudal or dorsal fins by email to: baleine@rnsm.org. Please note that these photographs will remain the property of the photographer, whose name will appear on each photo used. The Saint-Martin/Sint Maarten catalog will grow over time and become a valuable database that will allow us to track their migration routes, and also teach us more about their abundance and be able to estimate their population. When completed, this catalog should be available online and will allow everyone to participate in the identification of individuals out in the field, to share lucky encounters and to add new photos that will further enrich this database. The Reserve is working in partnership with the Observatoire des mammifères marins de l’arc guadeloupéen (OMMAG) on this project, who have a thick catalog of photos that is available for viewing on ommag.info. A big thank you to OMMAG for their technical support and their passion to communicate!!Two, very different, humpback whale dorsal fins

A very black caudal fin

All articles from: Newsletter-21

Better Knowledge About Protected Areas And Protected Species

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