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Whales & Dolphins of Timor-Leste

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Who We Are

Dedicated to Understanding & Protecting Cetaceans

Here at 'Whales and Dolphins of Timor-Leste', we are driven by a single goal - to better understand and protect Timor-Leste's globally significant whale and dolphin populations.


Our program is supported by leading cetacean researchers and conservation scientists to improve our knowledge. And works closely with key partners, such as local coastal communities, government agencies, and marine industries - to develop and promote effective conservation and support sustainable cetacean tourism development. 


We strive to build productive relationships and make a positive impact with all of our pursuits.

Our Activities

Collaborative & Innovative


Cetacean Research and Monitoring

With globally significant populations of cetaceans, our team is committed to improving our understanding of whales and dolphins in the waters of Timor-Leste. This includes: undertaking scientific research and systematic monitoring, supporting community-based monitoring, developing a public cetacean sightings and reporting program, and developing a national cetacean sightings database.  Learn more about our work by getting in touch with our team today.

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Supporting Sustainable Cetacean Tourism

Timor-Leste has enormous potential to develop sustainable cetacean tourism - including whale and dolphin watching, swim-dive tourism, underwater photography and research tourism. Our experienced team works with local communities, eco-volunteers, ecotourism and dive operators, and government partners, to support the development of sustainable cetacean tourism. Contact us to learn more about our current projects and opportunities.

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Supporting Cetacean Conservation

Our team is dedicated to supporting cetacean conservation and management in Timor-Leste. Including, minimising threats and assisting government agencies with developing cetacean policies and guidelines - including tourism, shipping, EIAs, environmental management plans.  We also support cetacean conservation efforts through support and contribution to cetacean conservation forums at the national, regional and international level. Including improving understanding and management of cetacean species through contribution to regional and global species databases.

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Cetacean Education and Training

With our skilled and experienced educators, we develop and undertake customised and specialised cetacean education and training - to local communities, government agencies, tour operators, and groups of individuals. Including training in cetacean biology, species identification, impacts and threats, cetacean management and policies, and sustainable cetacean tourism. Get in touch with our team today to find out how we can help you.


Check out our cetacean educational resources, including our school resources, such as 'Nauri and Parawuha ina Visit Timor-Leste'  - Timor-Leste's first school book telling the story of the annual migration of Pygmy Blue Whales along the Ombai-Wetar Strait.


"Look deep into nature, and then you will understand everything better."

Albert Einsten


Key People

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Karen Edyvane

 BSc, PhD

Project Leader

Karen Edyvane has been studying whales and dolphins in Timor-Leste since 2007. Including undertaking the first-ever cetacean surveys - and the team that discovered that Timor-Leste's waters were a 'global hotspot for cetaceans'.  Karen has a passion for research, education and also, international human development. She is currently a Visiting Professor at the National University of Timor-Leste and Charles Darwin University.

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Michael Double

BSc, PhD

Cetacean Specialist

Michael Double brings world-leading research expertise in cetaceans, particularly blue whales. Michael has been studying blue whales in the waters of the Subantarctic and also, Australia - including migratory pygmy blue whales which migrate annually to the waters of Timor-Leste. He is currently Director of the Australian Marine Mammal Centre.

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Jose Quintas, BA (Hons), Masters (Tourism)

Sustainable Cetacean Tourism

With us since our founding, Jose Quintas is an internationally-qualified, sustainable tourism expert with over two decades of experience in sustainable tourism development and partnerships in Timor-Leste. Jose brings years of experience, skills and wisdom to the forefront in ensuring the success of our activities.

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Caroline Hoschle
 BSc, MSc

Marine Mammals &
AI-Remote Sensing

Marcelo Belo Soares

Cetacean Sightings Coordinator (Atauro Island)

Mario Cabral
BSc, MSc, PhD

Ocean Conservation & Management

As a passionate naturalist, Caroline was immediately attracted by Timor-Leste’s oceans and wildlife - a recognised global whale 'hotspot'.  Caroline has extensive scientific, multi-disciplinary experience in marine mammals, remote sensing, conservation, and international environmental consulting. 

Significantly, her innovative international research group ‘Space Whales’ ( based in Germany, provides access to the latest satellite-based technologies and AI (artificial intelligence)-based research methodologies in better understanding the abundance, population trends and movement of whales in Timor-Leste’s waters. 

Marcelo comes from the local fishing village of Makili on Atauro Island.  While Marcelo has, over the past decade, led and worked on a wide range of environmental programs on the island - he is particularly passionate about the oceans of Atauro. Marcelo has been leading the cetacean sightings program on Atauro Island since 2016, supporting training and cetacean monitoring by local fisherman as Roman Luan's Environment Manager.

Mario has been actively working in ocean conservation in Timor-Leste since 2005 – particularly in the area of ocean protection, integrated coastal management and ocean governance. As an experienced, qualified university academic and international consultant (in the area of marine science, coastal and ocean management), Mario has been a major contributor to ocean policies in Timor-Leste. Mario is also passionate about ocean life and the importance of education – and was a major contributor to Timor-Leste’s first school book about cetaceans, ‘Nauri and Parawu Ina visit Timor-Leste’.

Our Key Partners

Our Research Partners

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Our Data Partners

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Contact Whales and Dolphins of Timor-Leste

+61 424 779 374

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