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Turtle and Whale identification using adapted Facial Recognition Software.

AI has brought the most incredible benefits to oceanographic studies.

This week we had a visit from Mone Marine biologist from the Attitude Foundation, who asked us to photograph turtle heads from above and from each side, and to encourage divers to do the same.

Fortunately the turtles on Turtle Rock are accustomed to divers, but on reefs where they are not often exposed to photographers they are timid and fearful. This too is a citizen project, where divers are encouraged to share their pictures of turtle heads and faces in order to track their migrations.

Green Turtle Left face

Green turtle Head shot

Green turtle right side.

This information is fed into the program and the details include the site, depth and date. We hope this will give us a better global understanding of these endangered creatures.

 Last week we were introduced to a package that established the identity of whales from photos of their tail flukes- enabling us to track their migrations from Cape Town to Reunion Island.

Alexander Vogel, Data manager for Africa and Western Indian Islands demonstrated the marine mammal ID technology Happy Whale. He has been tracking whales for over 15 years.

Significantly, this program shows the migration patterns of whales through photographic sightings of the their tail flukes. He showed the tracking of whales from Brazil to Cape Town and then to Reunion Island-and no further.

Mauritius is the centre of the breeding ground for the hump back whale, and should be able to supply vital information to the program, which relies on citizen sightings.

Sadly, Mauritius contribution to this amazing program has be woefully inadequate. Whale watching as a Tourist venture is a major source of tourist revenue world wide. It is unobtrusive, safe and generates passion for the preservation of marine animals.

In Mauritius there is a desperate shortage of whale watching operators. However the Marine Megafauna Conservation Organization dominates whale watching in Mauritius.

Image from the

Its worth going to the website to take a look at the tracking system, which is almost as comprehensive as the flightrader website that tracks global aircraft flights!


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