Humpback whales (Megaptera novaeangliae) migrate from southern latitudes to warmer tropical waters to breed.
Migratory populations have been well documented off the east coast of Madagascar in Antongil Bay and around Ile de St Marie. Studies have also been conducted in the Comoros Islands, north west of Madagascar. To date no surveys have been conducted on the west coast of Madagascar and little is known about the individuals migrating through the Mozambique Channel. This study assesses the migratory flow of M. novaeangliae along the south west coast of Madagascar.
The key findings of this study show:
Movement of whales was documented along the south west coast of Madagascar between June and October
It is likely that the northwards migration begins earlier than June and future monitoring projects should begin in May
Large numbers of whales travel north along the coast between June and August
There is a significant decrease in the number of individuals travelling north in September and October
The number of whales travelling south increases towards the end of the season