Understanding the Age of Extinction
We are living through a biodiversity crisis, or what scientists are calling the ‘sixth mass extinction’, as around 1 million species face extinction, many within decades.
May 7th 2021
Day 7 – Time Out
Today was a quiet day, but it was always going to be after yesterdays lunacy. We went to the office and I worked on tagging some photographs from the project to make them easier to locate in the future. When I was done with this task, Darren showed me what he has been working on for the last few weeks; identifying and classifying the acoustic repertoire of dolphins. The work is labour intensive; he listens to hours and hours of recordings of dolphin interactions and has to identify and quantify the different sounds they are producing based on the frequency and duration of the sounds, which he sees on a sound conversion program. These noises have all been categorised as Whistles, Chirps, Pops, LFN’s (Low Frequency Noises), Burst Pulse noises and so on, and it is his job to create a catalogue of these. The different noises I hear on the recordings are fascinating and the different communications dolphins implement these sounds for is still largely undiscovered, making them all the more appealing.
I was given the afternoon off to do some much-needed personal admin. In the evening after dinner, Monique and I disinfected and tidied the sampling kit, because tomorrow we are planning on going out to examine the two stranded whales we encountered on day 5. It promises to yield some valuable information and be another learning curve.
I’ve been here a week already, and the amount I’ve learnt through the intelligent and kind people who work this project and the constant on-hand involvement is phenomenal.
I’m starting to see the world through their eyes and understand the importance and rationality behind data, and samples, and analysis and everything else that a week ago may have felt daunting to me. I tend to be guided by emotion rather than my head a lot of the time, but a week with down to earth human beings who see both sides of the story through careful observation has really helped me distinguish emotion from mind. My appreciation for the sea and its inhabitants seems to grow exponentially every day I am here, and so far I could do nothing but recommend that every person with an inclination towards conservation, science or wildlife should become involved in such a project, whether it be local to your community or half way across the world, they are accessible to everyone who looks for them.
Written and photo provided by WorkingAbroad Volunteer, Jaz Henry
If you are interested in joining the Dolphin Research project in Namibia as an intern then check out the details on the project page here.