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Abundance and distribution of the Atlantic Humpback dolphin in Gabon and Congo, with a focus on improving field-survey methods and monitoring protocols

 

Principal Investigator: Tim Collins, Wildlife Conservation Society

Funding year: 2011

Main objectives:

  • To develop robust monitoring methods and estimate the abundance of Atlantic humpback dolphins (Sousa teuszii) in the coastal waters of Gabon and Congo.

  • To assess the distribution and habitat preferences of Atlantic humpback dolphins, including identification of any critical habitats and migratory corridors.
     
  • To assess threats and map their distribution.
     
  • To provide training opportunities for regional collaborators.

Main outcomes:

  • Analyses of beach-based survey data (419 recorded sightings of humpback and bottlenose dolphins) allowed for initial assessment of distribution, occupancy and abundance of Atlantic humpback dolphins within Conkouati Douli National Park (Congo). These data form the basis for the development of a long term, cost effective monitoring methodology.
     
  • CPOD acoustic detections recorded across multiple sites indicate routine and regular occurrence of dolphins within the transboundary (Gabon-Congo) protected areas of Mayumba-Conkouati. Initial analyses indicate that these units provide a useful means with which to monitor coastal dolphins but final assessment requires definitive recording of the full vocal spectrum of each species.
     
  • Initial objectives for the project were diverted by the identification of a significant bycatch issue in Conkouati Douli National Park. This led to the initiation of a fishemen-led reporting network and collection of additional data (including GPS linked fishing effort) that will allow assessment of bycatch risk and appropriate mitigation.

Reports/Papers:

Collins, T. 2013. Progress on Atlantic humpback dolphin conservation and research efforts in Congo and Gabon. SC-65a-SM16rev.  Click here to read.