LITERATURE: Megaptera releases its little guide to humpback whales


The association for the knowledge, observation and conservation of marine mammals and the whale shark, Megaptera, under the direction of Michel Vély, recently published an exciting book  entitled "The Humpback Whales of the Bank of Anguilla - A practical guide for observers".

This 83-page illustrated, entertaining and educational book is aimed at young and old alike, wishing to discover or learn more about the humpback whales that visit Caribbean waters each year to reproduce. As stated in the introduction, “We wanted to make this little booklet so that it would serve as a travel companion for you who want to know more about these giants of the seas; to facilitate your search for the various observation sites in the waters of the islands of Saint-Martin (French part and Dutch part), Saint-Barthélemy and Anguilla, located on the Banc d'Anguilla and to try to answer the questions so often asked. (…) We need your collaboration, your observations…”. With a preface by Nicolas Maslach who recounts his first experience of using a hydrophone to listen to whale songs, the little practical guide is full of valuable information on the emblematic humpback whale to which the Megaptera association owes its name. . The book then lists an inventory of the different species present in the Anguilla Bank through a chapter called “everything you always wanted to know about humpback whales but were afraid to ask”. Michel Vély had the intelligence to develop the behavioral aspect of marine mammals including reproduction (the Banc d'Anguilla representing an exceptional mating site for humpback whales), social life (jumps and successive strikes of the fin or caudal fin), strandings or migration. The awareness chapter on whale watching ecotourism recalls the extent to which the observation of marine mammals must be organized according to the rules in force, with a nod to the AGOA sanctuary which extends over the all the waters of the French West Indies (i.e. 143.256 km2). The section "knowing better to protect better" informs readers about techniques for identifying and censusing the population of humpback whales. The young readership will not be left out, thanks to the calf corner, the little ones will be able to show their creativity by building their own whale or a decorative module to hang. Bravo for this little guide which, even if it did not claim to replace the books dealing with the subject, fully contributes to the discovery of humpback whales. _VX



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