Researchers from Flinders University in Adelaide have confirmed the importance of the Ningaloo reef in north-western Australia as a key habitat for the Australian humpback dolphin, a sub-species of the Indo-Pacific humpback dolphin.
A three-year study discovered 129 dolphins in the research area, with around one dolphin per sq. km, the highest density ever recorded for this species in northern Australia.
The Ningaloo Marine Park is world-renowned for its wildlife and a marine protected area. However, it also lies offshore from the Pilbara, where mining for its mineral resources is growing and coastal development may put pressure on dolphins’ habitat.
The new findings will underpin further long-term research and conservation efforts to ensure proper protection for both these dolphins and the Australian snubfin dolphin and bottlenose dolphins which are also found in the region.
Demographic characteristics of Australian humpback dolphins reveal important habitat toward the southwestern limit of their range
Tim N. Hunt,, Lars Bejder, Simon J. Allen, Robert W. Rankin, Daniella Hanf, Guido J. Parra