United Beaked Whales of Macaronesia: Another exciting project collaboration for Terra Azul!

Today we are very happy to talk about a new scientific project!


Master student Eliette Hamard (from MARE-Madeira) is investigating the potential movements of Beaked Whales between different islands of Macaronesia (Azores, Madeira, Canary Islands, Cape Verde).


Map of the Macaronesia.


Terra Azul is supporting this project providing pictures usable for the photo-identification of individual whales. And guess what…we already found a female Blainville’s beaked whale that has been re-sighted in different years on the South coast of São Miguel Island (check picture below)!  What an exciting beginning for this new collaboration!


Photo Id of the dorsal fin with the notch at the base in 2017 & 2019. Also secondary features like a cross scar on the right flank of the animal were matching!


Eliette Hamard explains: “As some cetacean species are seen in most of the Macaronesia region (e.g. Pilot whalesGlobicephala macrorhynchus, recaptured between Madeira, Canary Islands, and the Azores), it is really interesting to see if we can observe the same individuals of Beaked Whales between the different archipelagos!

In Madeira, we already have a consequent photo-identification catalogue comprising 92 individuals. So that is why, with the help of collaborators from the different archipelagos, a comparison between their photographed individuals and our individuals will be done to  understand better the potential movements of beaked whales in Macaronesia!

We now know that Pilot Whales are travelling between Maderia and Azores Island, so maybe also some species of Beaked Whales are doing the same! “


Female Blainville’s Beaked whale, recognizable for the absence of protruding teeth on the lower jaw.


About Marylou

Marylou is a Marine Biologist and Master in Oceanography. She is one of our Marine Wildlife Guide and is responsible for Science Education at TERRA AZUL. Originally from France, she studied in Canada and Belgium and loves being out to sea to share her knowledge with you.

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