Marine Connection: Conservation through education - protecting whales, dolphins and the world's oceans for the future generations

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Non migrating humpback whales

Earlier this year the Environment Society of Oman (ESO) and Marine Expert Robert Baldwin announced that the coast of Oman was a habitat for a genetically unique and isolated population of whales, recently given the official name Arabian Sea humpback whale population by the International Whaling Commission (IWC).

The scientists have just returned from field research where they have recorded whale songs, behavioural patterns, DNA samples and over 10,000 photographs of this unique Arabian Sea humpback whale population that Baldwin and his team are dedicated to preserving. The research has revealed that the Arabian Sea humpback whale is the only known population in the world not to migrate, but rather to breed and feed in the same geographic area, an exciting scientific finding which has triggered international media and expert interest. The recent research also indicates they are one of the smallest and potentially most vulnerable whale populations in the world. The research will be presented to the scientific community at the 63rd annual meeting of the IWC in Norway next month.

Oman's marine life features as some of the most impressive of the country?s natural resources and careful planning and management are needed to ensure that development does not have a lasting negative impact. Decision makers require rigorous scientific information on the habitats and populations they are trying to protect in order to plan effective conservation strategies. The Ministry of Environment and Climate Affairs and the Ministry of Fisheries was delighted to discover that Oman has such an unique population of whales and now aim to keep their seas healthy and protect and conserve this species.

There are plans to learn more about the distribution, abundance, habitat use, population characteristics, and potential threats to these marine species throughout the Sultanate of Oman.Not only will this wealth of scientific information help to preserve the unique whale species, but it will also materialise into guidelines for eco-tourism and other economic verticals, and be documented for Oman's future marine studies and museums.The findings will also help attract international support in conserving the habitat and sustainability of these magnificent animals.

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Conservation through education - protecting whales, dolphins and the world's oceans for the future generations