The IndoCet Consortium and Wild Me have been working for several years on the development of Flukebook, an online platform for automatic comparison of humpback whale tail photos. This digital platform allows IndoCet members to store and compare their humpback whale fluke photo identifications with the support of artificial intelligence software.
One of the Consortium’s priority actions is to study the structure and abundance of humpback whale populations on a regional scale in the southwestern Indian Ocean. The structure of a population can be studied using many techniques, including natural markers (photo-identification and genetics) and satellite monitoring. These techniques provide information on connectivity between breeding and feeding sites, and have proven to be powerful tools for abundance estimates. Extensive databases have been created and updated in the region over the last 10 years, particularly with regard to photo-identification catalogs, but few inter-regional comparisons have been carried out.
One of the biggest challenges in comparing these humpback whale caudal catalogs is the amount of data, especially since they belong to different agencies and are located throughout the SWOI. Consortium members believe that the best way to make these comparisons is to develop and use the same online comparison platform.
The collaboration between IndoCet and Wild Me has allowed to develop a custom Flukbook platform for Indocet, adapted it to the needs of the Consortium.
Improvements to the platform are funded for the Consortium by the Indian Ocean Commission, the French Global Environment Facility (FFEM), the European Union (FEDER-INTEREG) and Region-Reunion.