to Ketos Ecology’s Angola Cetacean Research pages
is located on the west coast of Africa in the
south-east Atlantic Ocean (latitude 5–17ºS),
and has a coastline exceeding 1650 km length.
The area has a combination of temperate
waters in the south and tropical waters in the
north, and provides a variety of habitat types
for marine fauna.
is known about the marine mammal species
inhabiting Angolan waters, and until recently
most information was based on historical
catches of large whales.
Heavy exploitation of whales on the west
coast of Africa commenced towards the end of
the 18th century, with whalers arriving at
Angola before 1770.
Between 1909 and 1916 modern shore-based
and floating whaling stations were established
at Lobito, Baia dos Elefantes, Mossamedes,
Porto Alexandre and Baia dos Tigres. Reviews of whaling records by Townsend (1935) and Best (1994)
indicate that humpback and sperm whales were
the most frequently captured species off
Angola, with significant catches also of blue,
fin, sei and Bryde’s whales.
The occurrence of smaller whales and
dolphins off Angola is almost completely
has received increasing focus from the oil and
gas industry, and since 2003 some companies
have implemented Marine Mammal Observers (MMOs)
during geophysical seismic surveys off Angola.
While the MMOs are primarily onboard to
mitigate against the potentially adverse effects
of seismic airgun sound upon marine fauna, the use
of experienced biologists also provides an
invaluable opportunity to collect data on
marine mammals and turtles in this poorly
Ecology has been at the forefront of cetacean
research in Angola, and Caroline Weir has
carried out cetacean and turtle surveys from
seismic survey vessels off the coasts of
Angola, Congo and Gabon since March 2004.
This data is currently being used as
part of a PhD study into the ecology and
habitat preferences of cetaceans and turtles
off Angola, and several
scientific papers have
been published to date.
Ketos Ecology also carried out dedicated
research on Atlantic humpback
dolphins (Sousa teuszii) in southern
Angola. Information on this project is
available at the
Sousa dolphin website.
click on the links below for more
information on the occurrence of cetaceans and
turtles in Angolan waters, field work diary
extracts and downloads:
queries/information on marine mammal research in Angola and the wider Gulf of
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