Whale Watchers for South Coast
World-Renowned Scientists from Hubbs Seaworld Research Institute in California
Coastweek - - East African Whale Shark Trust (EAWST) have confirmed that Brent Stewart and Steve Wilson are visiting Kenya for the second year running.
These two world-renowned scientists from Hubbs Seaworld Research Institute in San Diego, California are coming for a period of two weeks in early 2007 to conduct a follow-up research expedition on Kenya's whale shark population which will include tagging with satellites.
The team was in Kenya last November, and were sufficiently impressed with Kenya's whale shark population to plan this now second expedition in 2007.
Due to the increase in international whale shark re-search and the prolific numbers of whale sharks experienced on Kenya's South Coast, an annual International recognised re-search program, is now firmly in place.
The whale shark satellite-tagging programme is a relatively recent global initiative that allows researchers to pinpoint the immediate location of the sharks as well as study their overall migration habits up to a period of nine months.
EAWST Operations Manager Nimu Njonjo notes:
"That the Sea World Research Team is to return to Diani beach with several tags (one costs US$ 5,000) is a huge honour for EAWST, as well as a highly valid testament to Kenya's unique and substantial whale shark population."
Satellite tagging is an integral part of international whale shark research, given the lack of available data on this highly endangered CITES listed species.
"No tagging has ever been done off the coast of East Africa and once the tags are in place the whale shark population can be monitored and studied carefully by international and national research teams.
"This unique initiative is a huge boost for Kenya's coastal and marine based tourist industry as well as the local community."