The RACA, the "Network for the study of the stranded cetaceans of the Azores", was founded in 1999. This network gathering volunteers from all the islands of the archipelago has been placed under the responsibility of the Environment Secretary and the Department of Nature Protection. The University of the Azores has been also taking part in this project for São Miguel, Terceira and Faial Islands, and Espaço Talassa is the "operational center" for Pico Island.

The stranding of whales, conveyed by the media, often has a great impact on the population. Carrying out a systematic collecting scientific data on strandings (date, species, sex, size, etc.) is significant in order to have a better knowledge of the marine world of the Azores but also of the whole world’s. Both permanent training of all the volunteers of this network and field initiatives help to have an answer adapted to any situation.

Delphinus delphis, Physeter macrocephalus, Mesoplodon sp.

The main objectives of the RACA network are :

  • Minimizing the risks for both public health and security
  • Minimizing the suffering of living stranded animals
  • Collecting as many information as possible about stranding animals for a "scientific" or educational purpose
  • Drawing up a data base allowing to determine the evolution and the causes of mortality on a long-term basis.
  • Detecting the levels of contaminants and any other variant used as health indicators for both coastal populations and ecosystems.

Physeter Macrocephalus
Delphinus delphis
Phoca sp.