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MIROMEN the program, or how to learn more about whales

MIROMEN the program, or how to learn more about whales (Forimmediaterelease.net) The MIROMEN (MIgration ROutes of MEgaptera Novaeangliae) program is coming to an end. From July 29 until August 16, the scientific MIROMEN program is laying on Argos (transmission and data collecting devices) on fifteen adult humpback whales to follow their different migration routes. The scientific objectives of this study are diverse:

• locate the routes of marine mammals transiting Reunion Island before reaching their breeding or calving in the Indian Ocean;
• increase knowledge of areas and habitats of humpback whales across the island; and
• know the migration routes of whales to their feeding area in the southern seas.

On-site methods, such as materials used, have been tested by many similar programs worldwide. The fastening system of the Argos fits just below the dorsal fin of the humpback whale. Thereafter, the tag transmits its position when the mammal comes back to the surface. After a few weeks or months, the whale rejects the tag, considering it a foreign body.

The installation of tags is also accompanied by skin samples to collect genetic information alongside spatial data. The samples on this protected species were allowed under this project by the Ministry of the Environment. Finally, a photo-identification of the mammals’ dorsal and caudal fins are recorded to complete this scientific study.

The migration of whales will be featured as a tag line on the scientific team’s website [ www.globice.org ] and on the Facebook account named Association Globice Reunion, in early August.

The project is supported by the GLOBICE Association in partnership with the NGO Wildlife Conservation Society (USA), Brigade Nature de l’ocean Indien (Reunion Island), the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (USA), Instituto Aqualie (Brazil), Webnox (Sweden), Ocean Dreams Croisieres (Reunion Island), and has received financial support from the European Commission.

Information: Guillaume Cottarel, href="mailto:guillaume.cottarel@globice.org">guillaume.cottarel@globice.org or 06 92 71 12 72

PHOTO: From Reunion Island Tourism Board (IRT) / E. Lamblin

MEDIA CONTACT: Liliana Rossi, Communication Manager, Reunion Island Tourism Board, Tel: +33 810 160 000, Fax: +262 262 21 00 21, Email: l.rossi@reunion.fr , Web: www.reunion.fr

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