CAITLIN BIRDSALL will speak this Sunday in Fanny Bay about what to do if you spot a cetacean.

Mammal sightings help protect species

Do you see marine mammals such as porpoises, whales and dolphins while you are spending time on or by the ocean?Those observations add to the richness of life in this part of Vancouver Island, but, if you take the time to report them to the BC Cetacean Sightings Network, they can also make a valuable contribution to marine science and species protection.  The diversity and complexity of marine life in the coastal waters off British Columbia is truly extraordinary. In fact, we are home to 23 species of cetaceans (whales, dolphins and porpoises) and four species of sea turtles.Seeing killer whales and other marine wildlife in their natural environment is a thrilling experience. However, some of the species that call our waters home are endangered or threatened.To aid conservation efforts, the Vancouver Aquarium, Fisheries and Oceans Canada and the Government of Canada Habitat Stewardship Program for Species at Risk have formed the BC Cetacean Sightings Network.Through reporting your sightings, you can help to prevent these mammals from facing further risk. For example, a downward shift in the number of sightings in an area known for frequent sightings can lead to detection of habitat-destroying elements. Caitlin Birdsall, research assistant for the BC Cetacean Sightings Network, will give a presentation at the Fanny Bay Hall at 2 p.m. this Sunday about marine mammal species common to this part of Vancouver Island, threats to these animals, and information on how you can participate in the sightings network.This event is sponsored by the Fanny Bay Community Association.  Admission is by donation. The Fanny Bay Hall is at 7793 Island Highway.For more information, leave a message at 250-335-2832.— BC Cetacean Sightings Network

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