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East Timor, Home of Whales & Dolphins
By Wendy Heller, January 1, 2009 @ 02:00 AM (EST)
Source: Iol.co.za

A "hot spot" of marine cetaceans migrating through deep channels off the Timor coast, including blue and beaked whales, short-finned pilot whales, melon headed whales and six dolphin species was uncovered in a study for the Timor government.

"Deep ocean channels of the Wetar and Ombai straits, which plummet more than 3 000m, were a major migratory route for marine wildlife moving between the Pacific and Indian oceans, including large sharks and turtles, the study found.

The channels are also used by US nuclear and Australian navy submarines travelling through the Indonesian islands.

The research highlighted the threat posed by unregulated fishing in the region as cash-strapped East Timor looks to develop its fishing industry while searching out potentially lucrative eco-tourism opportunities like whale-watching...

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