Research and conservation


Our aim at Futurismo is to make each tour an educational as well as emotional experience. Before the tour a marine biologist gives a briefing to inform our visitors about the conversion of whale hunting to whale watching in the Azores, species which may be sighted, rules of observation and respect for the animals and safety measures aboard. During the tour our biologists and guides explain more about the cetacean species sighted as well as other marine life and points of interest along the island. Additional information guides are also available aboard to add to the educational value of our tours. At the end of the tour the biologist gives a recap to explain which species were sighted and to show the sighting history of individual animals that were able to be identified from the tour.

Futurismo wants to ensure that all our activities are sustainable so that others can enjoy the Azorean nature in the future. We therefore try to minimise our impact on the environment and the animals we observe and we respect the rules of observation. Futurismo believes in supporting conservation projects and we regularly take local school groups and social institutions (such as Aurora Social) whale watching so that we may influence the next generation to also look after the environment. 

The meals that Futurismo provides for full day activities are of locally-sourced products and many of our programs include visits to local producers and traditional handcrafts.  At sea we remove litter encountered in the water, in the office we reduce printing and use of excess paper and we recycle what we can. We also reduce our use of fuel at sea by using onshore lookouts (vigias) to locate the animals; thereby reducing time spent searching and travelling.

 Marine litter such as plastic and old nets are a huge problem in the oceans so we remove these items when we encounter them during our tours



OUR RESEARCH

During all of our whale watching tours our marine biologists and onshore lookouts collect cetacean sighting dataBy joining us on a whale watching tour you are contributing to valuable scientific research which helps us learn more about the cetaceans of the Azores. Very little is still known about whales and dolphins, so we make the most of our situation: year-round tours and full-time biologists that provide us with a platform for ongoing research. Data collected by Futurismo are shared with universities and other researchers in the region, contributing to studies which develop policies to better protect whales and the marine environment. Our onshore lookouts keep track of groups of animals passing and record information such as type of cetaceans seen, group size, behaviour and dive times.  On the boats our marine biologists record more specific encounter information, including type of species encountered, encounter location, group size, group composition, behaviour and the presence of boats around the animals.
Our biologists photograph, identify and catalogue individuals that are encountered, allowing us to learn more about the individuals and populations of whales and dolphins of the Azores. Photo-identification of whales and dolphins allows us to get a better understanding of abundance on a long time scale, group composition and social structure, migration patterns and demographics such as life expectancy and reproductive rate. Futurismo currently has photographic catalogues of sperm whales, blue whales, fin whales, humpback whales, pilot whales, orcas, bottlenose dolphins and Risso’s dolphins. We invite our passengers to contribute to our research by sending in photographs for identification. In return we inform those passengers when their photographed individuals are later resighted.
Sperm whale fluke ID photos

Blue whale ID photos

Male orca ID, from January and April 2013

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