Offbeat: Madagascar: Bales strandings push the authorities to improve the alert protocol

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Since July, the date of the start of the whale season in Madagascar, 12 humpback whales have failed on the Malagasy coasts. Faced with the excitement aroused with Internet users, by these repeated phenomena, the Ministry of Fisheries and the Blue Economy has just organized a consultation bringing together the various specialist players in cetaceans. The goal: to set up a network of effective information so that scientists can try to correctly analyze the reasons for these deaths. RFI was able to talk to one of the two island's ketologists, consulted by the ministry.

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With our correspondent in Antananarivo, Sarah Tetaud

“This is the whale that was found on September 10 in Majunga and which is already in an advanced putrefaction state. On her computer, Anjara Saloma, doctor of biology and specialist in cetaceans, scrolls the photos of the two marine mammals found on the Malagasy beaches this Sunday.

According to her, these cases of stranding are not alarming for the moment. “Stalling is happening every year. These are natural phenomena, there have always been in Mada. But also in the southwest area of ​​the Indian Ocean. These are strandings of isolated individuals, only whales that measure between 4 and 7 meters.

The researchers recorded a particularly high birth of birth this year near the island coasts. A significant event according to the ketologist. "So in relation to this data, there may be cases of born deaths, cases of stranding of young people who are weak and die ... so we can say that if there are more births, we can naturally observe more stranded individuals.

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The scientist nevertheless recognizes that several anthropogenic factors, such as overfishing or marine and sound pollution can disorient cetaceans and lead them to their loss. Also, in the future, to be able to determine with certainty the causes of these strands, it would be essential to intervene on the spot at the time of the discovery of the animal on the beach.

“Ideally, at the national level, it is the establishment of a stranding network which would consist in setting up observers and people who could intervene precisely when there are cases of stranding such as that. At the right time, in order to be able to make a first identification and go up the right information to the competent authorities and to the scientists since they are the ones who will do the analyzes and the assessments and the autopsies necessary if necessary. These sentries can be everyone, starting from the municipality, the gendarmerie, civil society. A piroguier, a fisherman who goes to the beach level. You just have to be trained to have the right reflexes and good gestures in front of the failed animal.

This approach, which would therefore improve research, has just been validated by the Ministry of Fisheries and the Blue Economy.

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