In conjunction with World Wildlife Day 2019, whereby the theme of this year is focused on marine wildlife, MareCet would like to seek your contributions to enable us to fundraise to kickstart 'The WHALE Project by MareCet', Malaysia's first research and conservation project on large whales, specifically, Bryde's whales! MareCet has been conducting research on small dolphins around the Langkawi Archipelago in northwestern Peninsular Malaysia for nearly a decade now, and over the years, have sighted some whales and received numerous third party sighting reports of whales, primarily around the Payar Archipelago, off Langkawi.
It appears that the waters around the Payar Archipelago is a feeding ground for these gentle giants, yet we know nothing about how many whales use the area, what are their seasonal patterns (if at all), what they feed on, and how widely distributed they are in the area. A check on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species (https://www.iucnredlist.org/species/2476/50349178) showed that the research needs of this species include: population size, distribution and trends, as well as threats.
There are also possibilities in the near future that the habitat of these whales around Payar Achipelago may be impacted by large-scale human activities, thus before it is too late, MareCet would like to conduct this research to collect important ecological data on the whales, which will help in mitigating any imminent threats toward these charismatic creatures.
In 2018, MareCet had nominated the area around Pulau Payar as an Area of Interest for the IUCN Important Marine Mammal Areas (IMMA) initiative, on the basis that the area was important for the life cycle of the whales. Unfortunately, due to a lack of scientific data, the international review panel could not accept and elevate our nomination to cIMMA or even IMMA status.
Therefore, please support this project, which will allow us to do research as a means of contributing towards the whales' local conservation in the near future. Your support will mean the whale to us.