report on the second project of the West African Cetacean
Research and Conservation Programme (WAFCET-2) has been
published. Koen Van Waerebeek, project manager, and others
have produced this report. The project was implemented in
Senegal and The Gambia, from December 1999 till December
2001. It generally aimed at collecting information on the
conservation status of coastal cetaceans, with emphasis
on status of the Atlantic humpback dolphin (Sousa teuszii),
and support activities to improve it. To this end measures
to mitigate threats to its long-term survival were investigated.
Surprisingly, cetacean scientists have gathered more knowledge
about the distribution, ecology and status of whales and
small cetaceans from such hostile marine environments as
the polar seas, than about the natural history of cetaceans
in African coastal waters with the exception of South Africa.
The coastal environment in West Africa is undergoing rapid
changes with expanding human populations and over fishing,
giving rise to multiple threats to the long-term survival
of vulnerable marine life forms, including marine mammals.
This report summarizes results from WAFCET-2 project activities
in Senegal and The Gambia. In addition, Koen Van Waerebeek
et al comprehensively review the status, distribution and
natural history of the Atlantic humpback dolphin, one of
only two cetaceans endemic to West Africa.
The overall goals of the WAFCET-2 conservation project
consisted of raising awareness and boosting expertise in
aquatic mammal conservation at all levels, from the general
public up to government officials. Explorative field research
was done to assess the present conservation status of cetaceans
in Senegal and The Gambia. At the same time the feasibility
of future dedicated studies and larger-scale conservation
and education initiatives was evaluated.
These aims fit within the broader, regional objectives
of CMS conservation efforts for migratory species. They
are consistent with recent initiatives for the management
and protection of the marine and coastal resources of the
Economic Community of West African States sub region. Several
recent events demonstrate increasing interest for whales
and dolphins and their management within the sub region.
These also include a CMS-sponsored workshop in Conakry on
the conservation and management of marine mammals in West
Africa in May 2000 and the subsequent establishment of a
national coordination/ information centre for cetaceans
here to download the
WAFCET - 2 Report (in PDF Format)