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Cape Verde Humpback Whales Doc On TG4 This Weekend

27th October 2016
Cape Verde Humpback Whales Doc On TG4 This Weekend Photo: Canola Pictures

#MarineWildlife - Irish-made documentary The Humpback Whales of Cape Verde will be broadcast this Saturday 29 October at 7.15pm on TG4.

Narrated by Liam Ó Maonlaí and shot in Cape Verde, Ireland and Malta, the film follows Dr Simon Berrow of the the Irish Whale and Dolphin Group (IWDG) and an international team of marine scientists on an ambitious adventure to prove humpback whales from both the northern and southern hemispheres use the Cape Verde archipelago as a breeding ground.

“If we could make the connection, our understanding of humpback whale behaviour in the Atlantic would change,” says Dr Berrow. “Such a breeding ground would be unique. But going there in the first place at that time of year and at significant cost was a big if in itself.”

The lecturer at GMIT also believes the film will help highlight the importance of conservation in Irish waters.

“It still comes as a surprise to many that we have whales in Ireland,” he says. “In fact the numbers here are increasing each year and Ireland is becoming internationally important.

“To understand where whales in Ireland are coming from or going to and breeding is essential to protect them. This film is part of a 12-year search for the breeding grounds of humpback whales in Ireland.”

The broadcast on TG4 this weekend coincides with the 25th anniversary of all Irish waters being declared a whale and dolphin sanctuary, the first of its kind in Europe.

“It is an international story with an Irish perspective,” says director Tony Whelan. “It’s a cracking tale. Spending time with these scientists in an extraordinary environment was a privilege. We hope people enjoy it.

“We are really happy it has been taken up by TG4, an important channel for independent filmmakers. Without them stories like this can go unseen.”

The Humpback Whales of Cape Verde was screened around the country earlier this year as part of a library tour, as previously reported on Afloat.ie.

Published in Marine Wildlife
MacDara Conroy

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MacDara Conroy

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MacDara Conroy is a contributor covering all things on the water, from boating and wildlife to science and business

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Marine Wildlife Around Ireland One of the greatest memories of any day spent boating around the Irish coast is an encounter with marine wildlife.  It's a thrill for young and old to witness seabirds, seals, dolphins and whales right there in their own habitat. As boaters fortunate enough to have experienced it will testify even spotting a distant dorsal fin can be the highlight of any day afloat.  Was that a porpoise? Was it a whale? No matter how brief the glimpse it's a privilege to share the seas with Irish marine wildlife.

Thanks to the location of our beautiful little island, perched in the North Atlantic Ocean there appears to be no shortage of marine life to observe.

From whales to dolphins, seals, sharks and other ocean animals this page documents the most interesting accounts of marine wildlife around our shores. We're keen to receive your observations, your photos, links and youtube clips.

Boaters have a unique perspective and all those who go afloat, from inshore kayaking to offshore yacht racing that what they encounter can be of real value to specialist organisations such as the Irish Whale and Dolphin Group (IWDG) who compile a list of sightings and strandings. The IWDG knowledge base has increased over the past 21 years thanks in part at least to the observations of sailors, anglers, kayakers and boaters.

Thanks to the IWDG work we now know we share the seas with dozens of species who also call Ireland home. Here's the current list: Atlantic white-sided dolphin, beluga whale, blue whale, bottlenose dolphin, common dolphin, Cuvier's beaked whale, false killer whale, fin whale, Gervais' beaked whale, harbour porpoise, humpback whale, killer whale, minke whale, northern bottlenose whale, northern right whale, pilot whale, pygmy sperm whale, Risso's dolphin, sei whale, Sowerby's beaked whale, sperm whale, striped dolphin, True's beaked whale and white-beaked dolphin.

But as impressive as the species list is the IWDG believe there are still gaps in our knowledge. Next time you are out on the ocean waves keep a sharp look out!

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