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Humpback dolphins of Western Australia: A review of current knowledge and recommendations for future management

Hanf, D.M., Hunt, T. and Parra, G.J. (2015) Humpback dolphins of Western Australia: A review of current knowledge and recommendations for future management. Advances in Marine Biology, 73 . pp. 193-218.

Link to Published Version: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/bs.amb.2015.07.004
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Abstract

Among the many cetacean species that occupy Australian coastal waters, Australian humpback dolphins, Sousa sahulensis, are one of the most vulnerable to extirpation due to human activities. This review summarises the existing knowledge, presently occurring and planned research projects, and current conservation measures for humpback dolphins in Western Australia (WA). Rapid and wide-scale coastal development along the northern WA coastline has occurred despite a lack of baseline data for inshore dolphins and, therefore, without a precautionary approach to their conservation. The distribution, abundance, habitat use, and population structure of humpback dolphins remains poorly understood. Less than 1% of their inferred distribution has so far been studied to understand local population demography. The sparse data available suggest that WA humpback dolphins occur as localised populations in low numbers within a range of inshore habitats, including both clear and turbid coastal waters. Marine protected areas cover a third of their inferred distribution in WA, but the efficacy of these reserves in protecting local cetacean populations is unknown. There is a pressing need for coordination and collaboration among scientists, government agencies, industry bodies, Traditional Owners, and local community groups to fill in the gaps of information on humpback dolphins in WA. The recently developed strategies and sampling guidelines developed by state and federal governments should serve as a best practise standard for collection of data aimed at assessing the conservation status of humpback dolphins in WA and Australia.

Publication Type: Journal Article
Murdoch Affiliation: School of Veterinary and Life Sciences
Copyright: © 2015 Elsevier Ltd.
URI: http://researchrepository.murdoch.edu.au/id/eprint/28337
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