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Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Coastal Dolphins of Sarawak: Research and Conservation Issues

Dear MNS Kuching Branch members and friends,

You are cordially invited to attend the following talk:

Topic: Coastal Dolphins of Sarawak: Research and Conservation Issues
Date: 11th December 2009 (Friday)
Speaker: Dr Alma Gianna Minton, IBEC Research Fellow
Time: 2.30pm to 4.00pm
Venue: Niah Room at Dewan Tun Abdul Razak, Sarawak Museum.

The talk will cover some basic aspects of dolphin biology and ecology, as well as more detailed information on the coastal dolphins of Sarawak. The Sarawak Dolphin Project, founded by UNIMAS, Shell and the Sarawak Forestry Corporation, was launched in May 2008. The project now continues under the Institute of Biodiversity and Environmental Conservation (IBEC) at UNIMAS with diversified funding from various sources. After a year of coastal boat surveys, in three main survey areas (Miri, Bintulu and Kuching), the researchers have gained some insight into the habitat preferences and conservation needs of the four species of dolphins observed during the study: Irrawaddy dolphins, finless porpoises, Indo-Pacific humpback dolphins and bottlenose dolphins. The talk will include photographs, video footage, and diagrams of observations and preliminary survey results, and will hopefully be of interest to the general public, nature enthusiasts and anyone involved in the management, protection or development of coastal habitats.

Speaker’s Biodata:
After graduating from Stanford University in California, Gianna Minton started her professional life as a teacher and curriculum developer, working and living in Spain and Holland, as well as the US. She was reinvented as a cetacean researcher during her 8 and 1/2 years in Oman. Between 1999 and 2005 she raised funds, engaged in PR activities, and conducted boat and beach surveys for whales and dolphins all along the coast of Oman. Her PhD thesis, which was completed in 2004, focused on the amazing non-migratory humpback whales of the Arabian Sea. Since July 2005 she has been living with her husband and two young daughters in Sarawak, Malaysia. In May 2008 she was appointed as a Research Fellow at UNIMAS to fulfill the role of Principal researcher on the Sarawak Dolphin Project, and continues to work with Cindy Peter, MSc. candidate to study coastal dolphins in the Kuching, Bintulu and Miri regions. When not bouncing around on a boat looking for dolphins or looking after her daughters, aged 3 and 5, Gianna is swimming, running, or enjoying Borneo's terrestrial wildlife.

Attendance in open to all and free of charge. Please plan to arrive early to ensure that you get a seat!

Thank you.

1 comment:

  1. The talk presented by Gianna Minton yesterday was very informative and interesting. I liked the way she presented the information - it was clear and easily understood by a non-technical person. I especially liked the way she included short video clips showing whales and dolphins in action! She also touched on issues facing the future of the dolphin populations in Sarawak, such as coastal development, and unregulated fishing practices. Her message was clear - we have to take urgent steps to conserve these magical mammals, whose future is so intertwined with ours. Rebecca