Subject: Killer whales in French Guiana (fwd)

Mike Williamson (pita@www1.wheelock.edu)
Mon, 20 Oct 1997 13:17:45 -0400 (EDT)

---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Fri, 17 Oct 1997 09:30:00 -0430
From: Jean Christophe VIE <vie.j@kourou.cirad.fr>
Reply-To: Marine Mammals Research and Conservation Discussion
     <MARMAM@UVVM.UVIC.CA>
To: MARMAM@UVVM.UVIC.CA
Subject: Killer whales in French Guiana

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Dear Marmamers:
Two killer whales (Orcinus orca) have been observed on sept 20, 1997 at
11.00 AM a few miles away from the cost in French Guiana between the city
of Kourou and the Iles du Salut, approximately 05=B0 16' N and 52=B0 25' W =
(2
nautical miles south of the islands). Yachtmen saw one of the two animals
very well and were quite confident about their identification of these
popular animals as one animal jumped out of the water. The ocean was 7 m
deep and apparently the animals were feeding as many fish were jumping
above the surface prior to the sighting. The animals were swimming towards
the islands and contact was quickly lost.
To my knowledge, this is the first observation of this species in the area
though the dark water is not very favorable to marine mammals sightings.
As director of a wildlife research program in French Guiana and president
of a NGO dedicated to wildlife study and conservation (association Kwata) I
am compiling a list of mammals of French Guiana. To date, tucuxis (Sotalia
fluviatilis) and manatees (Trichechus manatus) are the only marine mammal
species that have been collected and thus identified with certainty.
Manatees observations have increased over the last years and (Pseudorca
crassidens) have been observed two years ago. Unidentified "large size
dolphins" have also been reported a few months ago along the cost.
I would appreciate to get informations about marine mammals in the area
(Guianas, Carribean, Brazilian costs). Have killer whales, false killer
whales been recorded? Is there a possibility of misidentification of killer
whales with another black and white species? What species have been
collected or identified in the neighboring countries that could be expected
to occur in French Guiana
Thank you by advance for your help.
Jean-Christophe Vie

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Jean-Christophe Vie, DVM
Responsable Faune Sauvage (EDF/CNEH)
C/O CIRAD - BP701
97387 Kourou Cedex
Guyane Francaise (French Guiana - France)
tel: (594) 32-73-53
fax: (594) 32-73-51
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email (1) vie.j@kourou.cirad.fr