Abstract Behavioural observations of dense beaked whales (Mesoplodon densirostris) off La Gomera, Canary Islands (1995-1997)

Fabian Ritter (1) and Bernd Brederlau (2)

(1) M.E.E.R. e.V., Berlin, Germany, e-mail: meer@infocanarias.com

(2) Project M.E.E.R. La Gomera , Apdo. de correos 121,

38870 Valle Gran Rey, La Gomera, Islas Canarias



Dense beaked whales (Mesoplodon densirostris) were sighted 24 times during 1 September 1995 through 31 August 1997 off La Gomera, Canary Islands. Sightings occurred year round. Group size was estimated to range from 2 to 9 individuals (mean 3.44, SD=2.07, n=23). Of the seven sightings for which such information was recorded, mean depth was 320m (SD=270m), and mean distance from shore was 4.39 km (SD=1.85 km). Adult males and calves were both observed during many encounters. The reaction of the animals to the observation vessel varied from avoidance to approach. During two encounters swimmers were able to approach the whales underwater.