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Population assessment of South Africa’s most endangered dolphin

The Indian Ocean humpback dolphin of South Africa, was recently recognised as a separate species (Sousa plumbea) and as ‘vulnerable’ by the IUCN Red List, becoming South Africa’s most endangered marine mammal. Rough estimates indicate the presence of less than 1,000 individuals. However, population exchange between several coastal regions strongly suggests the total number of individuals could be lower than initially believed. The future of this species in South African coastal waters is therefore strongly conservation depended.


To aim of the Sousa Project is to establish an intergroup collaboration for the national assessment of the humpback dolphin population status and viability in South Africa, critical information at times of formulating accurate conservation management strategies.


Whalefish Science director Dr. Els Vermeulen is leading this project within the Western Cape together with her colleagues of Sea Search. Her work involves the execution of fieldwork (including photo-ID, genetic sampling and acoustic recordings) and establishing of a working relationship with other research groups for inter-site comparison of data


For more information, please check the website