LAMAVE

CALL FOR VOLUNTEERS

LAMAVE is looking for two volunteers to join their Southern Leyte Whale Shark Project in 2015. They are looking for enthusiastic, hard-working individuals with a passion for conservation. The ideal candidate will meet the following requirements:

• Available to stay a minimum of 3 months
• Excellent swimming/snorkelling skills.
• Ability to free dive at least 7m.
• Physically fit enough to spend several hours a day on a boat and/or in the water, frequently in rough conditions and current. 
• Strongly interested in whale sharks, conservation and environmental research.
• Ability to work independently and in a team.
• Strong work ethic with a willingness to work long hours if necessary.
• Comfortable with living in a shared house with only basic amenities.
• Experience in developing countries.
• Proficiency in English.

There are two starting dates: 25th Jan 2015, and Apr 15th 2015.
A more detailed volunteer pack will be forwarded to interested applicants following receipt of your CV, Cover Letter and intended start date as above to volunteer@lamave.org

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The awesome guys over at LAMAVE are looking for good swimmers to volunteer for their whale shark project in S. Leyte, Philippines. Fancy a few months in a remote Filipino village working with wild whale sharks and a really friendly local community? Apply now!

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Some relaxing whale shark footage from photographer/videographer Steve De Neef, mainly filmed from his visit last week to our LAMAVE base here in Southern Leyte, Philippines. All footage shot with a Canon 5D markIII, 16-35mm f2.8 lens using only natural light and one breath of air :)

Great Job Steve!

And yes these are just some of the creatures I find myself working with everyday ;-) 

 

 

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It had been a year since I first set foot in Oslob, Cebu to volunteer for LaMaVe as a whale shark researcher. That evening, I went out of the project house and was greeted by a night sky clear enough to see the milky way and a couple of meteors, which I took as a sign that I made a good decision. But it didn’t prepare me for the BEST: every day is a joy when you’re swimming with whale sharks, bonding with your co-volunteers and favorite Doc, and even learning how to cook. It was a month of being exactly where I wanted to be.

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A stranded Pan-tropical Spotted Dolphin (Stenella attenuata) with a Cookiecutter Shark (Isistius brasiliensis) bite. 

This was a dolphin that stranded in a nearby village a couple of weeks ago. The local government stranding response was really good and in a couple of hours the dead dolphin caught a ride up a steep hill from the beach to the main road from a bunch of strong and ingenious men who fashioned a “stretcher” out of wood and rope lying around. 

Popped on the truck, it made it’s way home. To my home, which is fast becoming the dolphin grave yard. Though my living here, and it’s use as a dolphin burial ground are unrelated, it makes for easy work! We performed a necropsy on this super skinny male and found it’s stomach completely devoid of contents. No sign of plastic or fishing hooks though - so it probably had a disease that stopped it from eating. 

What did not kill it is the seemingly traumatic bite from it’s side. The massive hole went all the way down to the muscle layer and is the calling card of one of the weird monsters of the deep - the Cookiecutter shark! 

Also known as the cigar shark, this charmer grabs large cylindrical chunks of flesh out of large marine animals. How you might ask?

It sucks onto the body surface of the prey and retracts its tongue to create negative pressure with suction lips to ensure a tight seal. Then, the bite, anchored by narrow upper teeth and sliced by the menacing lower teeth. And to top it off, some acrobatics, as the shark twists and rotates the body to make a circular cut, and we’re done. 

The bites don’t kill the “prey” which can include cetaceans, sharks, sting rays, dugongs, bony fish and the occasional human….!

Cookie Cutter Shark | Credit

I mentioned something about LAMAVE t-shirt designs in one of my last posts …well here is one of the designs…we’re printing both stickers and t-shirts, which we are hoping to sell both to help fundraise for our projects out here in the Philippines :-).  

Ale, Steve and Sam will have some with them during ADEX (Asian Dive expose…) happening later this week in Singapore but if you’re interested in getting your hands on one…check out the merchandise page on our website….and stay tuned for more designs to come ;-)

Just think, you could help sharks, support conservation and spread the love….all in one purchase :-)

www.lamave.org 

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Just the other day I danced with my first manta ray ;-)….and fell in love <3 as it twirled around us….so mesmerised was I that I didn’t even notice when it tried to eat me?…or maybe kiss me? ;-) ….something that was only revealed when we looked at Jess’ pictures ;p

A beautiful encounter, with an animal that desperately needs protecting.  Though protected under Philippine law these animals are still fished - with their gill rakers and fins often being sold to accommodate the Asian market.  Swimming with such an amazing creature, only highlights how much more valuable these creatures are alive than dead, a message we all need to help share

 x

Esimesed päevad siin

Tsau! :) Suured kallistused teile, kes seda loevad! Mul on tunne, et see blogi tuleb üsna vahetu ning et ma panen siia kirja lihtsalt kõik selle, mis mulle antud hetkel oluline tundub seoses minu tegemistega.

Lennukile astudes sai valatud mõni krokodillipisar ning esimene päev möödus kohvriga ringi joostes. Rongijaama kihutades selgus, et kogu liiklus on peatatud, kuna kuskil oli inimene perroonilt alla hüpanud – see oli esimene lamav politseinik mu teel kohtumisele musjöö Londeroga, kes on minu kontaktisik seoses Erasmusega.

Anyhow, kui rong lõpuks tuli, ei oleks ma enam hostelist läbi jõudnud, seega ronisin oma kottide ja kohvritega kooli poole. Kuna viimase aja sündmustega seoses on turvameetmed palju karmimaks läinud, ei tahetud mind alguses isegi välisuksest sisse lasta, kuna mul polnud veel õpilaspiletit. Õnneks pärast väikseid läbirääkimisi olukord laabus ja sain ilusti oma kohtumisele.

Esimest korda üle pika aja prantsuse keeles rääkida ei olnudki nii hirmus, kui ma kartsin. Pidin ainult ühe korra küsima “kuidas palun?”.

Hosteli leidmine oli paras seiklus, kuna tulin vales peatuses maha. Käisin vist kokku peaaegu 2 tundi edasi-tagasi, kuni lõpuks leidsin õige koha üles. Siin on nagu Marseille’ski, et klienti väga ei usaldata ning võti tuleb ära anda iga kord, kui sa majast lahkud. Toob toredad mälestused meelde!

Üksi hotellis olla on väga veider tunne. Nagu su reisikaaslane oleks pikaks ajaks linna peale jäänud ja sa ootaksid teda tagasi, aga ta ei tulegi kunagi. Õnneks on mul mu jänes kaasas.

Teine päev oli väga naljakas ja nõutuks tegev. Läksin hommikul duši alla ning järsku hüüab mulle koristaja ukse tagant: “Pole probleemi, ma panen silmad kinni ja tulen vahetan prügikoti ära!”. Seda ta ka tegi vaatamata mu protesteerivale häälele. Täpsustuseks võib öelda, et tegemist oli moslemist mehega. Ei osanudki nagu midagi teha sellise asja peale. Täna olen targem ja käin õhtul juba pesemas ära :D

Otsustasin minna linna peale jalutama ja liikusin ooperimaja juurest kuni Louvre’ini välja. Panin kõrvaklappidest Rolling Stones’i maksimumi peale, nautisin päikselist ilma ning tundsin, nagu ma oleksin siin juba nädalaid olnud. Ostsin muuhulgas ka Charlie Hebdo viimase numbri, millel on kujutatud nutvat prohvetit. Hakkan seda täna vaikselt pusima.

Louvre’is kohtusin ühe huvitava tegelasega. Ameerika kunstniku Christopheriga, kes oli Pariisi tulnud inspiratsiooni ammutama. Rääkisime üsna kaua, kuivõrd tegemist oli väga põneva ja sümpaatse inimesega. Tuju läks hoobilt veel paremaks, kuna öeldakse ju, et kui sa oled esimesel päeval ühe uue sõbra leidnud, on kõik rohkem, kui hästi.

Louvre’is käisin ringi paar tundi. Ei hakanud üle pingutama, kuna mul on veel palju aega, et seda korduvalt uuesti külastada. Isegi Mona Lisa juurde ei jõudnud veel. Selle eest nägin aga umbes sadat kassimuumiat.

Jalutasin ka Tulieries’ aedades, mis on kohe Louvre’i kõrval ning istusin natuke aega ajalehte lugedes pargipingil. Olin samas kohas käinud iga kord, kui Pariisi sattusin ning meenutasin, mida kõike toredat ma juba siin armastuse linnas ära ei ole teinud.

Nüüd olen oma toas ja söön rediseid! Igatsus on natuke peal, aga pole hullu, sain juba esimesed skaipimised tehtud :)

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Did you know that whale sharks can grow to up to 20 metres long and are believed to live up to 100 years old?

The largest whale shark (caught off of Taiwan) was measured at 20 meters in length, while the smallest (found free-swimming in Donsol, Philippines) measured only 46 cm long. However, sizes at birth can vary. A whale shark caught by fishermen in India still had a yolk sack attached and measured 94 cm, while researchers recorded a shark measuring only 61 cm without a yolk sac inside a pregnant whale shark in Taiwan.

Marissa Fox and the Large Marine Vertebrates Project need your help to find and protect critical whale shark habitats. Share the video in the link below and ask your friends to do the same. Your vote will make a difference!

http://expeditiongranted.nationalgeographic.com/project/above-giants/

Our first Large Marine Vertebrate Project, Philippines (LAMAVE) whale shark paper is out. Follow the link above to check it out.  The study looked at the population structure and residency patterns of R. typus (whale shark) at the Oslob provisioning site, in Cebu, Philippines.

Big shout out to lead author Gonzalo Araujo and a massive thank you to our team and all our amazing LAMAVE volunteers.  Go team!

This study represents the first description of whale sharks, Rhincodon typus, occurring at a provisioning site in Oslob, Cebu, Philippines. Frequent observations of sharks are often difficult, even at tourism sites, giving rise to provisioning activities to attract them. The present study provides repeated longitudinal data at a site where daily provisioning activities took place, and whale sharks were present every day. A total of 158 individual whale sharks were photographically identified between Mar 2012 and Dec 2013, with 129 males (82%), 19 females (12%) and 10 (6%) of undetermined sex. Mean estimated total length was 5.5 m (±1.3 m S.D.). Twenty individuals were measured with laser photogrammetry to validate researchers’ estimated sizes, yielding a good correlation (r2 = 0.83). Fifty-four (34%) individuals were observed being hand-fed by local fishermen (provisioned), through in-water behavioural observations. Maximum likelihood methods were used to model mean residency time of 44.9 days (±20.6 days S.E.) for provisioned R. typus contrasting with 22.4 days (±8.9 days S.E.) for non-provisioned individuals. Propeller scars were observed in 47% of the animals. A mean of 12.7 (±4.3 S.D.) R. typus were present in the survey area daily, with a maximum of 26 individuals (Aug 10 2013) and a minimum of 2 (Dec 6 2012). Twelve (8%) individuals were seen on at least 50% of survey days (n = 621), with a maximum residency of 572 days for one individual (P-396). Twenty four individuals were photographically identified across regional hotsposts, highlighting the species’ migratory nature and distribution. Extended residency and differences in lagged identification rates suggest behavioural modification on provisioned individuals, underlying the necessity for proper management of this tourism activity.

Whale shark reflection

Whale sharks are filter feeders, the collect plankton by passing water over their gill rakers on the way past their gills. In a small fishing village in the Philippines, the whale sharks are fed for tourists. This practice has only been going on a year, and the long term effects are something the project I’m working for (Large Marine Vertebrates Project) is studying. 

I have had the craziest 10 days...

…hence no Tumblr. 

I necropsied a pan-tropical spotted dolphin.

I went to a provincial government meeting.

I got interviewed for two newspapers.

I monitored a severe propellor cut on a whale shark.

I lost my shark biopsy cherry.

I became a shark biopsy slut. 

It was awesome. Apart from the prop cut. That sucks. 

GPOY: About to biopsy a whale shark…

…from my friend Steve De Neef’s shiny new website (www.stevedeneef.com). 

He’s been diligently documenting the situation in Oslob (where they feed the whale sharks) and other conservation issues and projects around the Philippines.

His shots are truly stunning, check them out!  

NB. My (awesome) fins got stolen the night before. Borrowed these and can confirm split fins are not the ideal choice for swimming after a whale shark!! It did mean I got to upgrade though. 

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Dear people of the world (and in particular any Wildscreen wonders), 

This is a taster of some of the work I was involved with in the Philippines earlier this year.  It features both WWF-Philippines and Non Government Organisation (NGO) Physalus and their Large Marine Vertebrate Project.  

I will be going back out to the Philippines in January 2013 and will be working on Physalus’ Large Marine Vertebrate Project.  I intend to film updates from our projects and share them with you all.  Unfortunately to make this possible I need to get some more vital equipment.  Ideally I would love for someone to sponsor this project (dreams).  

If you think you could help in anyway, or would simply like to find out more then I would be delighted to hear from you: sallysnowglobe@gmail.com 

Thanks for stopping by, 

Sally x