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TARAWA, Kiribati (February 4, 2001 - Radio Kiribati/PINA Nius Online)--Six marine researchers from the Ocean Alliance of Scripps Institute of Oceanography in the United States now are concluding their work in Kiribati with a stop in Tarawa.

They are involved in a three-year scientific study on the lifespan of sperm whales.

The group told Radio Kiribati News that they spent four months in Kiribati waters aboard their yacht conducting underwater studies near Nikunau, Beru, Maiana and Christmas islands. They found about 50 to 70 sperm whales living there.

The Ocean Alliance, which encompasses the Whale Conservation Institute, is dedicated to the conservation of whales and their ocean environment through research and education.

While at Christmas Island (Kiritimati), in the eastern part of Kiribati, the group invited schoolchildren from the island to their boat and informed them about the organization’s research.

Unfortunately, the group could not invite schoolchildren to join them while in the capital, Tarawa, as their arrival coincided with a local holiday.

The group is now preparing to leave Tarawa for Papua New Guinea.

As part of their work, the group also has provided information about the cultures and traditions of Kiribati to media organisations in the United States through their website (see: http://www.oceanalliance.org/ ). 

Pacific Islands News Association (PINA) Website: http://www.pinanius.org 

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