Bulletin 26 July 1985: International Dolphin Watch -- Abu Dhabi Branch Report
International Dolphin Watch -- Abu Dhabi Branch Reportby D. Rowlands
The visit of Dr. Horace Dobbs, an authority on dolphins, to Abu Dhabi in April 1984 resulted in the forming of a local branch of the I.D.W., which was organised as a sub-committee of the Emirates Natural History Group. Recording forms were produced and a "Whales and Dolphins Handbook" was written by Ian Hamer and issued to members. The Dolphin Watch was divided into two sections.
The first logged reports from members and ran weekly spotting trips organised by boat owners and reported sightings from helicopter pilots.
The second section specialised in studying one particular group of Humpback Dolphins in the channel between Futaysi and Hudayriat Islands. This second section will be the subject of a separate report.
When in groups dolphins were very often observed swimming very close together, in twos or threes mostly. It was also observed that sightings usually depended on the presence of fish in the area; no fish meant no dolphins. Occasionally there would be a show-off dolphin, who treated the observers to a display of somersaults and backward flips.
One observer kept a list of sightings around the offshore complexes between September 1984 and March 1985. In Zakum Field 271 dolphins were recorded in 78 sightings, while in Umm Shaif Field 78 sightings yielded 510 mammals.
A full list of recordings carried out by the Emirates Natural History Group International Dolphin Watch for the year ending April 1985 is included in the chart accompanying this report.
Many questions remain unanswered, and no definite breeding ground was established. Why the sudden disappearance of dolphins from regular haunts, and their subsequent sudden reappearance? It is hoped that this first effort in recording the behaviour of dolphins in the waters around Abu Dhabi will form the basis of further work in this area.
(Dave Rowlands, ex-ENHG Mammal Recorder, has now left Abu Dhabi and returned to UK -Ed.)
Patron: H.E. Sheikh Nahayan bin Mubarak Al Nahayan
Served from Molalla, Oregon, United States of America