Review sponsored animals 2019
by Katharina Heyer
This year Baby Hook, Pedro and Edu were once again an inseparable family, joined by Triangula and her new-born baby. On the 19th of August we could observe the little Pilot Whale baby, which presumably was born only moments before, and how Baby Hook immediately started her function as an aunt. The little one was still gasping awkwardly for air and then splashed clumsily back into the water. In the meantime, he's already swimming boldly close to the underwater windows of the VISION to inspect us. We have seen this family 57 times.
Most often we've seen Fernando and Dientes. We met them 59 times. Fernando's injury from the poorly attached chip has diminished imperceptibly. These two always dive remarkably long and we often drive away to leave them undisturbed.
We've seen Oliver 35 times and noticed that he is changing families. He moved between Corte's family in spring and Nina's family later. He is a magnificent male and overlooks the respective family very well. He can be recognized from afar by his round dorsal fin.
We've seen Nina 30 times. She was also travelling with another family for a while. Mostly with the family of Gorro.
Gorro is very big and easy to see from a distance. His dorsal fin is flat at the top and we have seen him 36 times. He is a leisurely whale. Last year he was Lola's constant companion and we sighted them together until the 21st of April.
Lola had apparently survived the winter well, but after the 21st of April our data ends and we don't know where she is. Gorro stayed here and joined different groups.
Willy was, among others, one whale that Gorro had joined. We had seen him 6 times. It is necessary to see Willy up close in order to identify him. Since this year he has a new white spot on his dorsal fin, which makes him more recognizable.
Sierra and Ponce were without exception travelling together. We recorded them 23 times. Sierra is an agile female and Ponce represents the impressive macho in the family, which always consisted of 6-8 animals.
Occasionally joining them was Johnny, whom we met 13 times. He often came close to the boat or swam under it.
Pomares is one of the largest Pilot Whales in the Strait of Gibraltar. We don't recognize him by the shape of his dorsal fin, but by the clearly visible injuries on his back. We have seen him 35 times.
We met Franzfin with his striking notches on the dorsal fin 25 times. He also has to come relatively close to the boat so that he can be identified with certainty. He is also one of the largest Pilot Whales in the Strait of Gibraltar.
There were quite a few Baby Tonis (every year a new-born Pilot Whale baby) in spring. Especially when we experienced the entry of 200 Pilot Whales on May 3rd, it was teeming with little Baby Tonis! But even after midsummer, until October, we met new-borns among the Pilot Whales.
We've only seen Vicenta three times. She stays respectfully away from the boat and therefore she is often not recognized with certainty. She would be easy to identify with her injuries, but she is rarely on the surface for long.
We have given names to two more Pilot Whales: there is Sonja with the distinguishable nicks on her dorsal fin. We noticed her 13 times, mostly in the family of Oliver.
And then Dracula, who has a few small injuries on his dorsal fin and was spontaneously baptized by our boat crew.
We have known Lolly since 2004 and she is one of the animals we have known for a long time. We have been observing her regularly for 15 years now. Despite the fungus on her dorsal fin, she is still doing well and is already accompanied by her 3rd baby. We have seen her 17 times throughout the summer. She seems to permanently live with her school in the Strait of Gibraltar.
White Cap: Her white dorsal fin, which looks like a small cap, is also visible from far away. She always swims in a larger group of Bottlenose Dolphins. Together with her, her offspring from last year could always be seen.
Cutty has been one of our most seen Bottlenose Dolphins since 2000. She seems to belong to the family of Lolly, because we often watched her in the same big school.
Puzzle is not easy to recognize because there are many with a dorsal fin that resemble a puzzle. We often recorded her in the group of Cutty and watched her tail-slapping from time to time.
Salto delighted us again with his high jumps. He often jumps far away from the boat. He animates others from his family to perform somersaults.
Baby Leila: Also this year there were several new-borns among the Bottlenose Dolphins. They are very sweet when they swim lively around their mothers and always provide a lot of joy for the many children on the boat. Until autumn there were new-borns with vertical stripes, a clear sign that they are only a few days old.
Mapa is a new Bottlenose Dolphin that we've given a name to. He is spotted, which was probably caused by an acid. The pattern on his body resembles a map. We have seen Mapa several times, always in large groups.
Observador: He showed up right next to the boat on May 16th and surprised us completely. Then he was here again the last days of September, when the 9 Sperm Whales delighted us for some days. As we would expect from him, he approaches the boat curiously, looks at us and then dives down majestically..
Camorro was sighted this year most often, always together with his family, which has grown to a total of 19 Orcas. He was often busy with the juveniles whom he learned to fish the tunas. He seems to have the group well under control.
Matriarchin: The mother of Camorro and some of the big females was always there. She is probably over 40 years old and is certainly the oldest in the big school. As a multifaceted grandmother she was often seen with the young Orcas.
Baby Wilson isn't one of the youngest any more. He is a cheeky teenager, always in the mood for a lot of action around the boat. He is still recognizable by the small black spot in his white eye patch.
Lucia is still inseparable from her little Estrella. Only rarely did we see Estrella playing with the other little ones.
Both seem to be doing very well.