Blog

NURSING UNDERWATER

Nursing underwater Whales and dolphins, being marine mammals, exhibit the typical characteristics of mammals: they’re warm-blooded, breathe air, have fur (although only a few hairs or for a limited time period), give birth to live young, and produce milk to feed their offspring. Calves of either whales or dolphins are able to swim shortly after READ MORE

CONSERVATION DECONSTRUCTED

What does conservation mean? What does it mean to be conservation-minded, to have a conservation ethic, or to do conservation? Conservation, specifically with regards to the environment, is a word that has possibly become overused in the past years, and perhaps the meaning has become diluted. Traditionally conservation had to do with the preservation, protection, READ MORE

THE ANNUAL SOUTHERN RIGHT WHALE AREAL SURVEY

On Tuesday 3 October, the Mammal Research Institute’s Whale Unit started their annual southern right whale aerial survey which aims to monitor the population of right whales along the South African coastline. This survey has been carried out annually since the first survey in 1979, making this year the 39th consecutive annual right whale survey READ MORE

TO SEE IN THE SEE

Anyone who has gone scuba diving knows the difficulties of underwater vision. Visibility can be affected by the turbidity of the water, and the deeper you get the less light penetrates and you slowly lose colours, and then light altogether. Depth perception also changes due to the refraction of light, and objects may closer or READ MORE

ROBBERG FUR SEAL COLONY

The Cape Fur seal (Arctocephalus pusillus pusillus) is the only pinniped resident to the South African coastline and breeds at 41 different sites between Baia dos Tigres in Angola and Algoa Bay in South Africa. Most of the colonies are situated on the west coast within the Benguela Current system, while only three are situated READ MORE

Super sense of fish

Fish use their sense of sight, hearing, smell, taste, and touch to gain accurate and up-to-date information about the surrounding environment, which is important to make optimal decisions about possible threats, prey, as well as mates. Due to their aquatic nature fish also have an additional sense, the lateral line or lateralis system. The lateral READ MORE

Adorable Southern Right whale calves

Since the beginning of September, the number of southern right whale (Eubalaena australis) cow-calf pairs in the bay has increased significantly compared to the last two months of our annual whale season. We have counted a total of about six cow-calf pairs in Plettenberg Bay, two of which are easily identifiable as a result of READ MORE

Sensory system of fish

Accurate, up-to-date information about the surrounding environment is very important in order to make optimal decisions about possible threats, prey, as well as mates. For humans our five senses (sight, hearing, smell, taste, and touch) tell us this information. Fish use the same set of senses, but differently as they are, of course, wholly submerged READ MORE

Cape Clawless Otter

It is not every day that one gets to glimpse the elusive Cape clawless otter (Aonyx capensis) as it goes about its daily life within many of South Africa’s freshwater systems. These otters belong to the Mustelid family, which includes carnivores such as weasels and badgers. The Cape clawless otter, also known as the African READ MORE