Watamu is known for many things, the pristine sandy beaches, breath-taking views and the biodiversity of the waters. That is expected. But Watamu is always full of surprises too.
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Watamu is any diver and snorkeler’s dream thanks to the vast spectrum of marine species to be seen. Our motto is always expect the unexpected, which came true when the Watamu Marine Association research team with Kenya Wildlife Service spotted over 100 False Killer whales in the Marine Park at the beginning of the dolphin watching season this year. These marine mammals have been reported in Tanzania before, but had never been properly recorded or photographed in Kenya.
False Killer Whales are about 4 to 6 meters long and are top predators of the ocean, known to feed on fish, squid and even other dolphins. They are called False Killers due to their similarity with the more commonly known, larger, Orca or Killer Whale (also seen occasionally in Watamu) that can grow up to 10 metres in length. A little-known fact is that both species, although referred to as whales, are in fact large dolphins.
In Watamu the False Killers were spotted hunting prey 1 to 2 Kms off the Watamu shore and the research team spotted an injured sailfish struggling on the water’s surface.
This is good and bad news; good news because this goes a long way to show the amazing biodiversity in the Kenyan waters. Bad news for the poor dolphins who could be dinner, although according to the Watamu Marine Association, the False Killer whales and dolphins can collaborate in joint hunting.
Researcher Kahindi Charo said, “It never crossed my mind that I would one day see these animals.”
Charo said the mammals hunting in Watamu is great news for Kenya and the eco-tourism industry.
“It shows why we need to protect and conserve the ocean. I am sure we are going to see more species coming to our waters,” he said.
For more information on dolphins and whales in Watamu please see
NTVWild Delightful Dolphins https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MgUlzRwWm8w
CNN Inside Africa Discovering Kenya’s Little Known Dolphins https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MgUlzRwWm8w