projects /
project centre campaigns whale and dolphin research
whale watching guidelinesintrohistorymain issuesresearch highlightsthe team

This section gives an introduction to ESO's general whale and dolphin research group. If you would like to find out more about our current Renaissance Whale and Dolphin Project please click here or visit our news section for regular updates


Oman is home to almost 20 species of cetacean. Therefore, Oman's waters boast over a quarter of all cetaceans (the collective name for whales and dolphins). Oman’s cetaceans come as a surprise to many, and there remains a great deal for us all to learn about them.

The ESO Whale and Dolphin Research Group consists of local volunteer scientists who work together to collect and disseminate knowledge about Oman's cetaceans. We are independent researchers, whose work is recognised and approved by the Ministry Environment and Climate Affairs. We also work closely with the Oman Natural History Museum, the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries, and Sultan Qaboos University (SQU).

The group's activities include:

Emergency rescue services for whales and dolphins stranded on beaches or entangled in fishing nets. Most recently, on September 19, 2008 the team worked for several hours in the dark to rescue a live stranded striped dolphin on a beach near Barka. In August 2006, the team worked for several hours to release a Humpback Whale found entangled in a fishing net at Azaiba. It was eventually freed and guided back to deeper water.
Maintenance of a database of cetacean sightings and strandings. The database includes over 1600 reports of sightings and strandings dating back to the 1970s. It is officially held by the Museum of Natural History and the Ministry of Environment and Climate Affairs, but volunteers update information with new reported sightings. Local marine scientists use the database to look for trends and generate distribution maps and charts of sightings according to species and different times of the year.
Collection of cetacean bones, skulls, and tissue samples. Skeletal material is contributed to the Natural History Museum. Much can be learned from these, which are sometimes the only proof of local presence of rare or elusive species rarely seen at sea. Tissue samples from both dead and live animals are used for genetic analysis to determine whether or not Arabian populations are still in contact with other members of the same species, or whether they constitute a separate stock.
Dissemination of information through local media, presentations to the public, and development of educational materials to promote awareness of Oman’s cetaceans and the need to protect their environment.

For more information, please contact:

Stranding Response Hotline
Howard Gray : + 968 9249 7536
Andrew Willson : + 968 9592 0461

General Enquiries
Howard Gray

Andrew Willson

Publication requests
Gianna Minton

Research Activities
Robert Baldwin

Tim Collins

Gianna Minton

Louisa Ponnamapalam


Copyright © Environment Society of Oman 2009. All rights reserved SITE MAP | A KATANA RE PROJECT