In celebrating World Ocean Day this week, Durban South Tourism, Sodurba, launched its whaling history tours in association with various stakeholders, including Wildlands’ WhaleTime project which engages the public in monitoring the migration of the marine mammal along the KZN coast from June to December each year.
WhaleTime project manager Rachel Kramer and WhaleTime guide, Nomfundo Mseleku (pictured below) are now hoping Durban will bid to become a Whale Heritage Site at the forthcoming World Whale Conference in Durban from June 24 to 29. Click here to read more about the conference.
The Whale Time Project aims to involve, engage and educate a wide range of people about whales and the marine environment, as well as to promote ethical and sustainable community-based tourism centred around this iconic species.
The Wildlands Whale Time Project is supported by The Blue Fund, a partnership between Grindrod Ltd. and Wildlands. The Project’s goal is to bring science, conservation, tourism and community together around this iconic species. It aims to contribute to updating scientific knowledge of Humpback whale populations and to engage public in whale sightings and associated monitoring of the distribution, behaviour patterns and habitat use of the whales. The project includes the establishment of an online platform that will allow “citizen scientists” to upload photos of whales, to be identified by marine science experts. It provides a platform to develop a coastal community based “citizen science” movement that will bring benefits not only for conservation of the whales and their ocean environment, but also for coastal communities through training and economic opportunities.
The Whale Time project has four main elements:
- Research – assess, monitor and communicate the recovery, conservation status and population dynamics of East Coast Humpback whales
- Citizen Science – involve citizens in monitoring and research on whales, thus building public knowledge and creating powerful advocates for conservation of the ocean
- Ecotourism – put the East Coast whale migration on the local and international map as an amazing conservation and tourism phenomenon
- Community Guiding – provide an opportunity for coastal communities to appreciate the value of marine conservation through involving them in whale eco-tourism