Pacific Conservation Biology Pacific Conservation Biology Society
A journal dedicated to conservation and wildlife management in the Pacific region.

First record of Blainville's Beaked Whale Mesoplodon densirostris in Fiji

Matthew S. Leslie, Aisake Batibasaga, Diana S. Weber, David Olson and Howard C. Rosenbaum

Pacific Conservation Biology 11(4) 302 - 304
Published: 2005


LIttle Is known about the conservation status and geographic range of beaked whales. This note provides the first record of a Blainville's Beaked Whale Mesoplodon densirostris in Fijian waters, and contributes to the available knowledge of a species poorly known in the South Pacific region. On 11 November 2003, a female beaked whale stranded near Viti Levu, Fiji. A lack of suitable references and unfamiliarity with diagnostic morphological characters inhibited species identification at the time of stranding. However, we were able to identify this specimen by using molecular genetic information and applying a diagnostic character approach. DNA sequences from the unknown specimen exhibited nucleotide character states that unambiguously identified it as a Blainville's Beaked Whale. Unfortunately, a lack of associated data collected in this particular event emphasizes a common situation around the world: untrained or poorly equipped personnel (municipalities, governmental agencies or local residents) must manage stranded marine mammals out of necessity. However, information from these events or opportunistic beach surveys assists In furthering research of conservation status and management needs.

© CSIRO 2005

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