The Indo-Pacific humpback dolphin Sousa chinensis is a widely distributed species with a strictly inshore population making them vulnerable to anthropogenic pressures. Habitat degradation and prey depletion are known to severely affect their populations. Estuaries are known to be important habitats for the Indo-pacific humpback dolphins, especially as their feeding grounds. However estuaries can also be suitable sites for port development.
This study is aimed at identifying ecological and anthropogenic factors determining distribution and behaviour of the humpback dolphin in estuarine ecosystems along the southwest coast of India. Investigating and raising cetacean profile with coastal stakeholders such as fishermen, port authorities and tourist operators are integral parts of the study and would identify the key areas to focus conservation efforts. The study also encompasses surveying the coastal area in and around estuaries leading to a better understanding of the cetacean distribution in general and more specifically of the Indo-pacific humpback dolphins in the larger area off the coast.
We hope the results and recommendations emerging from this study would highlight the effects that developmental activities have on marine life and thus influence environmental impact assessment reports of ports and other coastal projects.
Now you can be a part of the study too! Check the poster below for details.