First things first; a very happy women’s day from our team to all the ladies out there!
Today, on international women’s day, we remind ourselves of the importance of gender equality and how we can further facilitate this in today’s society. Of course, we should celebrate all the strong individuals who set an example to fight gender stereotypes and inequality every single day, but dedicating a day to remembering this certainly isn’t a bad thing.
Leadership qualities, for example, used to be considered as more of a male attribute and are now being increasingly associated with the female gender. In some societies female leadership has been the norm for a while, like in that of Short-finned pilot whales (Globicephala macrorhynchus). These stocky, gentle-natured delphinids exist in a so-called matrilinear structures; fixed units that consist primarily of females and young animals. The females in the herd, particularly the older and more experienced ones, are responsible for teaching the younger animals within the herd the dialect, hunting strategies and social skills of the clan. The longer life expectancy of female pilot whales, who can outlive males up to 15 years, allows them to pass these valuable skills down several generations within their clan. While females tend to remain within the same herd their entire life and in doing so maintain the clan’s culture, males leave their birth-pod once they reach sexual maturity to take on a very diferente but equally importante task. The mature bulls keep the gene pool of a population healthy by mating with several females from diferente clans in the course of their lives.
Apart from spending the afternoon trips amongst these remarkable creatures, our crew also managed to facilitate sightings with Short-beaked common dolphins (Delphinus delphis) and Bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops truncatus). While male dolphins tend to be the leading animals in these schools, females ensure the survival of the group by forming compact, closely-knit nursery pods to protect the younger animals. Moreover, amongst her many mates, a female can also actively select which one will father her offspring, ensuring the fitness of the school.
On that note, here’s a shout to all the strong women out there; may we know them, may we be them, may we raise them.
By Paula Thake
Sightings of the day
10:00 No sighting
14:30 Bottlenose dolphins, Short-beaked common dolphins, Short-finned pilot whales
15:00 Short-beaked common dolphins, Short-finned pilot whales