Marine mammal records of Cuba

Amy Whitt

Dataset credit

Amy Whitt


Primary contact Amy Whitt Azura Consulting LLC
Data entry Ei Fujioka Duke University



There has been very little research on marine mammals in Cuban waters. Much of the information on marine mammals in this region is buried in historical and gray literature. In order to provide a comprehensive account of marine mammal occurrence in Cuba’s Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ), we reviewed and verified 659 published and unpublished sighting, stranding, capture, and tagging records. Eighteen extant species and four genera have confirmed records for Cuban EEZ waters. This includes 17 species of cetaceans (three baleen whales and 14 toothed whales) and one sirenian species. An additional 11 cetacean species and one extant pinniped species have been reported, but not confirmed, or may have the potential to occur in Cuban waters. Historical records of the Caribbean monk seal (Monachus tropicalis) are documented in Cuba; however, this species is now considered extinct. The only two species that are seen regularly and considered common in Cuban nearshore waters are the common bottlenose dolphin (Tursiops truncatus) and the West Indian manatee (Trichechus manatus).



Supplemental information

[2023-11-07] A couple of species observed were misidentified. Changes made are:
SPOTTED DOLPHIN: 180429 => 180428
SSPERM WHALE: => 180429 => 180488
[2018-04-16] Irregular date of 2069-11-09 was corrected to 1969-11-09.

The temporal precision varies among records and most of the records do not have times (except those from satellite tag detections).

Some of the lat/long had to be estimated because exact locations were not available. For each record, there is a note describing the locations that are exact. As for the estimated lat/long, we estimated some of these just by finding the lat/long of the general location that was mentioned with the record. For some others, we georeferenced the coordinates from old figures of sightings/strandings since the raw data were not available.


Whitt, A.D., Jefferson, T.A., Blanco, M., Fertl, D., and Rees, D. 2011. A review of marine mammal records of Cuba. Latin American Journal of Aquatic Mammals. 9(2): 65-122.



This section explains attributes included in the original dataset. OBIS-SEAMAP restricts the attributes available to the public to date/time, lat/lon and species names/counts only. Should you need other attributes described here, you are encouraged to contact the data provider.

Attributes described below represent those in the original dataset provided by the provider.
All attributes are included in the downloadable file (CSV or ESRI File Geodatabase) for "Complete Set of Dataset".

Attributes in dataset

Attribute (table column)Description
oidUnique ID number (generated by OBIS-SEAMAP)
record_noRecord number
cuba_eezFlag indicating the location is in the Cuban EEZ
statusVerification of records: C=Confirmed, P=Possible, D=Doubtful
sp_obsCommon Name
scientific_name_orginalScientific Name in the original format
sp_tsnTaxonomic Serial Number added by OBIS-SEAMAP
record_typeRecord Type
latitudeLatitude in decimal degrees
longitudeLongitude in decimal degrees
date_originalDate in original format
obs_dateDate of the record converted from date_original
obs_timeTime of the records. Most of the records do not have time
tprecisionTemporal precision
groupsize_originalGroup size in original format
obs_countGroup size converted from groupsize_original
sourceCitation to the literature
sightedfromNotes on the observation location, coordinate precision etc.
other_notesOther notes
geomGeometry field added by OBIS-SEAMAP
Marine mammals675
Sea turtles0
Rays and sharks0
Other species0
Non spatial22
Non species0
Date, Begin1520-01-01
Date, End2008-10-14
Temporal prec.111111
Latitude19.00 - 25.05
Longitude-86.75 - -73.57
Coord. prec.6 decimal digits
Data typeAnimal sighting
Traveled (km)0
Contr. through
Sharing policy CC-BY (All)
Shared with OBIS
GBIF (via DOI)
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