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Pilot Whale Fieldwork Update

SATURN partners at the Universidad de la Laguna have been busy undertaking fieldwork since the start of the project to identify the most harmful sounds to cetaceans and the impact on the behavior of these animals. Passive acoustic monitoring data and maritime traffic data have already been collected and will be analysed in tandem with drone images of short-finned pilot whale populations in the Teno-Rasca special area of conservation, on the island of Tenerife (Canary Islands, Spain).


During field seasons carried out in 2021 and 2020, 17 pilot whales were tagged in the southwest of the island of Tenerife, obtaining more than 100 hours of recordings.


View some of the photos from this fieldwork below.


Above: Land station observers in front of Los Cristianos fast ferry and marina.

This image was taken with permission from the Ministry of Ecological Transition and the Demographic Challenge (MITECO) –Universidad de La Laguna all rights reserved.



Above: Tagging manoeuvre on a pilot whale. The digital tag (DTAG) is attached to the animal through suction cups and released after hours. A tagging pole is used to attach the tag. These devices track the acoustic behavior, acceleration and body posture of the pilot whales. For this sampling, the corresponding cetacean tagging and approach permits were obtained.

This image was taken with permission from the Ministry of Ecological Transition and the Demographic Challenge (MITECO) – Universidad de La Laguna all rights reserved.



Above: VHF radio-tracking system operated from boat and land (left and right picture, respectively) in order to monitor the acoustic tag in and off the whale.

This image was taken with permission from the Ministry of Ecological Transition and the Demographic Challenge (MITECO) –Universidad de La Laguna all rights reserved.

Above: Drone operated by Dr. Patricia Arranz during the development of CETTUS project in collaboration with SATURN for assessing the body condition and the morphometry of pilot whales.In the Canaries, the UAVs were operated under a UAV Operator license (Register # 2020064914) and an Advanced certification of aircraft piloted by remote control (RPA20605OT and RPA20605OP) under the Spanish Aviation Safety and Security Agency (AESA).

This image was taken with permission from the Ministry of Ecological Transition and the Demographic Challenge (MITECO) –Universidad de La Laguna all rights reserved.





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