Saturday, August 4, 2012

Stranded whales: National Geographic Indonesia & Raffles Bulletin of Zoology

I wrote a collaborative paper back in 2009 on stranded cetaceans in Indonesia, triggered by a stranded humpback whale in Bali (the presence of humpback whales in the Archipelago were previously thought to be a myth). The paper was my first paper in every real sense, so the editors had slight (!) difficulties in shaping it to a decent published form. But, after so many agonizing months, it was published in the Raffles Bulletin of Zoology. And, boy oh boy, was I so proud of it!

Mustika, P. L. K., Hutasoit, P., Madusari, C. C., Purnomo, F. S., Setiawan, A., Tjandra, K. & Prabowo, W. E. 2009, 'Whale strandings in Indonesia, including the first record of a humpback whale (Megaptera novaeangliae) in the Archipelago', The Raffles Bulletin of Zoology, vol. 57, no. 1, pp. 199-206.

Below is the abstract of that 2009 paper:

The paper presents whale stranding records in Indonesia from 1987 to 2007. Most identified stranding species were sperm whales (Physeter macrocephalus), followed by short-finned pilot whales (Globicephala macrorhynchus). In total, almost half of all stranding events involved unidentified cetaceans, indicating the need of more training on proper procedures of managing stranded whales and dolphins. Yet, despite an insufficient stranding network in the country, there was a well-recorded stranding of a young humpback whale (Megaptera novaeangliae) on 2 and 9 October 2007 in Bali, Indonesia. Colouration of the upper side of the pectoral fin, calf length and time of stranding suggest that the calf belonged to a Southern Hemisphere population, possibly Australia’s. The humpback whale stranding in Bali was the one of the first recorded incidences of the species’ presence in the Archipelago, hence signifying the importance of a good stranding network in Indonesia.

Late last year, I was approached by National Geographic Indonesia  to write an article about stranded whales in Indonesia.They had read our 2009 stranding paper and wanted me to expand the article to audience in a popular style. So I did, and it was published in NGI April 2012 edition (yes, in that 100 years Titanic edition!). The article is in Indonesia, though, so it might ward off the good intention of some non Indonesian speakers who want to read it :-(

Pic: the first paragraphs of my article in NGI April 2012

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