Last month, our science director Dr. Els Vermeulen participated in the annual meetings of the Scientific Committee of the International Whaling Commission in Bled, Slovenia.
During these meetings, Els presented a review of the bottlenose dolphins in Argentina for which she collaborated with over 10 Argentine marine mammal scientists. The data presented to the scientific committee reviewed all information available on the distribution, abundance and population structure of the bottlenose dolphin in this South American country, and clearly reflected their very poor conservation status. The review generated interesting discussion with various international specialists and resulted in a direct recommendation of the International Whaling Commission towards the country of Argentina, to improve its data collection efforts on the species in order to generate urgently an updated assessment of the population status in the country. It was stated this should include an estimation of the rate of decline and an investigation towards causal factors with the primary focus on the apparently reduced reproductive success in the population.
Currently, this review is processed to be published, and Els is aiming to increase the involvement of citizen scientists, requesting people in Argentina to upload their photographs of bottlenose dolphins to www.happywhale.com or the respective FaceBook page “Toninas de la Bahía”.