IFAW’s whale research vessel ‘Song of the Whale’ visits Alexandria, Egypt

Monday, July 9, 2007
Alexandria, Egypt
Song of the Whale (SOTW), the International Fund for Animal Welfare’s (IFAW - www.ifaw.org) whale research vessel, made a special visit to the Yacht Club of Egypt in Alexandria, on Saturday 7th July 2007. Egyptian scientists, government officials and media were invited onboard the 22 meter custom built sailing research boat to get a first hand understanding of IFAW’s whale conservation work and the Song of the Whale team.
The event highlighted this summer’s cetacean survey of the eastern Mediterranean Sea which began in May. Mahmoud Fouad of the Department of Natural Resources at Egypt’s Ministry of Environment is among the 12 interns who are participating in SOTW’s current survey.
 
More than eighty people attended the dinner event, including Gen. Adel Labeeb, Governor of Alexandria; Dr. Mustafa Fouda, Director of Natural Resources at the Ministry of Environment; Dr, Ragy Fakhry Toma, Director of the Egyptian Wildlife Service; Dr. Fatoh Mostafa Darwesh, Head of the Egyptian Management Authority for CITES; and Ms. Wafa Nirmin, representative from the League of Arab States.  The event generated enormous interest in the survey, particularly the finding that there are more sperm whales present in the Eastern Mediterranean, an area which has previously received very little survey coverage.
 
The SOTW team is conducting a survey for sperm whales and other cetaceans in the eastern Mediterranean Sea from May to October 2007 at the invitation of ACCOBAMS.*    Using noninvasive acoustic detection systems developed by Song of the Whale scientists, the team is gathering information on the distribution and abundance of sperm whales and other cetaceans in the eastern Mediterranean Sea, to inform future conservation efforts. 
 
The sperm whale is the largest toothed whale.  These and other cetaceans are known to be threatened by a range of human activities in the Mediterranean Sea including fishing-related accidental entanglement (bycatch) and competition for prey species; loud underwater sound from shipping, sonar, underwater drilling and seismic surveys; habitat loss, pollution from chemicals and floating debris (such as plastics) and collisions with ships.

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