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In March, a multi-agency team began the field work stage of the project "Franciscana dolphins aerial surveys in Uruguay: overcoming a challenge".

The Franciscana dolphin is an endemic species of Brazil, Uruguay and Argentina. They face serious conservation challenges due to incidental capture in the nets and gear of coastal fisheries.  Assessments of the size of the population (known as abundance estimates) are vital to evaluating the impact of mortality caused by these fisheries, and developing effective conservation strategies.

As of 20 March, the fieldwork team have completed 18 hours of flight over the agreed survey area, following 24 pre-designed and measured lines known as transects. A very positive start has recorded sightings of more than 40 groups of Franciscana. The flights will continue until the end of the month and the team plan to complete the 67 transects.  Once completed, the results will be shared widely, including with the Scientific Committee of the IWC.

This project is a joint effort between researchers from Uruguay and Brazil within the framework of the IWC's Franciscana Conservation Management Plan. It represents an unprecedented initiative involving international and multi-institutional cooperation, with funding from the IWC, YAQU PACHA e.V. Foundation, the Aqualie Institute and Gemars.

The project is undertaken by Uruguayan researchers from the Faculty of Sciences, UdelaR and Vida Silvestre Uruguay, and Brazilian researchers from Gemars, Instituto Aqualie and Associação R3 Animal. The project operates under a research permit from DINARA.  It is endorsed by the Faculty of Sciences (UdelaR), and supported by the National System of Protected Areas, the Ministry of Environment and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Uruguay.

franciscana aerial survey 2 mar 23