Nosy Be is an island located on the northwest coast of Madagascar, and means literally Big (Be) Island (Nosy).  A spectacular setting, lush and green in the wet tropical belt that includes the northwest and east coast rain forests, with dramatic mountains and rocky coasts, white beaches and various small islands scattered about the region.  It is one of the few infrastructure centers in Madagascar, and a center of the tourism industry due to its beauty, accessibility and relatively modern conveniences. 

Initial work on Omura’s whales was conducted from a field base on Nosy Iranja, within the Ankivonjy MPA, and the assessment of cetacean biodiversity by Dr. Cerchio was instrumental in the planning process and boundary establishment for both the Ankivonjy and Ankarea MPAs.  In 2015 the field base was shifted to the west coast of Nosy Be on the small island of Nosy Sakatia, in order to be closer to the concentrations of Omura’s whales identified in 2013-2014.