Risso’s Dolphins spotted off Reunion for the first time

NEW DOLPHIN SPECIES SEEN OFF REUNION BRINGS OVERALL NUMBER TO 22

(Posted 10th October 2013)

The scientific mission Ce`TO (Cetaceans Turtles Birds) announced that a new species of dolphins was recently found in the waters Reunion after the Risso’s Dolphin was observed for the first time to the island of La Reunion. Dolphins lives in tropical and temperate in both hemispheres and are regular ‘guests’ in the blue waters off the Reunion shores as recently witnessed during a visit to the island.

Supported by Globice and Kélonia Ecomar the Ke`TO scientific mission is devoted to the study of whales, turtles and birds. It aims to enrich the knowledge of marine biodiversity in the waters of the Indian Ocean off the island of La Reunion.
Scientists have pointed out that with a preference for deeper waters, observing the Risso’s Dolphin is difficult at best. For the first time was it now possible to observe this species of the dolphins coming to or near to the island of La Reunion.
Off the Sainte-Suzanne beaches were five Risso’s Dolphins recently discovered during the second phase of the Ke`TO program. This part of the observer mission was aimed to explore this more remote coastal marine areas of La Reunion, including the south and east coasts from where little data is currently available.

The 17 participating observers in this scientific mission had their wish come true. Besides sighting the traditional schools of dolphins they also spotted a large sperm whale, a fin whale and several Risso’s Dolphins. The first two species have already been observed off the island but it was a first for the Risso’s dolphin, bringing to 22 the number of cetacean species recorded in Reunion waters.

Participants had expressed their hope before setting out to discover rarer or indeed new species and their success was widely applauded among the scientific community but also by tourism sources, as whale watching and dolphin watching is one of the island’s most popular tourist activities besides exploring the island’s interior by helicopter, road or by taking hiking trips. Visit www.reunion.fr for more details on the island’s tourism attractions.

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