Sunday, January 17, 2010

Dispatches from Djibouti 2010...#3: Lots of old friends....

As the 2010 expedition draws to an end, the back-log of encounter sheets and photo-IDs is building ever higher meaning several weeks of work for Abi, Ciara and David to complete the basic entry and analysis....

Team-work: Flora and the team getting the photo ID shots; photo Luis.

What is clear is that there are likely to be as many encounters recorded this year as we had in 2009 although there may be fewer individual sharks... the total number of encounters hasn’t been calculated yet but is over 800 for the ten days of monitoring (we had 826 encounters in 2009).

There have been several notable differences this year one of which has been the lack of female sharks encountered, with only 12 encounters being with female sharks so far. There are also far fewer ‘new’ sharks that we hadn’t seen before, at the moment we have 29 new sharks out of a total of 66 identified individuals during the first week (we haven’t got into week two’s IDs yet!) of which 8 were found in the Devil’s Goblet at the Eastern end of the Gulf of Tadjourah. However, having recorded 169 new sharks in 2009 it may well be that we are getting close to having identified most of the site-faithful population now.

We have had lots of old friends re-identified already with four of the sharks identified in 2004 being frequently encountered. The most obvious is #003, also known as Wagner, because of the distinctive ‘W’ on his right side who seems to be in the area almost every day.

This seasons right side ID shot of Wagner (captured by Laetitia) showing his new scars and one sucker fish.

This trip has also produced a number of high quality images from the keen photographers we have had with some stunning images being captured by Daniel, Flora & Luis, Hussain and Warren... I’m sure we will see a number of these published in the coming months.

Wagner doing what he does best... feeding! Photo by Hussain

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