Conservation Status of the Australian Humpback Dolphin (Sousa sahulensis) Using the IUCN Red List Criteria

Guido Parra Vergara, Daniele Cagnazzi

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    29 Citations (Scopus)


    Australian humpback dolphins (Sousa sahulensis) were recently described as a new species endemic to northern Australia and potentially southern New Guinea. We assessed the species conservation status against IUCN Red List Criteria using available information on their biology, ecology and threatening processes. Knowledge of pop-ulation sizes and trends across the species range is lacking. Recent genetic studies indicate Australian humpback dolphins live in small and relatively isolated populations withlimitedgeneflowamongthem.Theavailable abundance estimates range from 14 to 207 individuals and no population studied to date is estimated to contain more than 104 mature individuals. The Potential Biological Removal method indicates populations are vulnerable to even low rates of anthropogenic mortality. Habitat degradation and loss is ongoing and expected to increase across the species range in Australia, and a continuing decline in the number of mature individuals is antici-pated. Considering the available evidence and following a precautionary approach, we considered this species as Vulnerable under IUCN criterion C2a(i) because the total number of mature individuals is plausibly fewer than 10,000, an inferred continuing decline due to cumulative impacts, and each of the populations studied to date is estimated to contain fewer than 1000 mature individuals. Ongoing research efforts and recently developed research strategies and priorities will provide valuable infor-mation towards the future conservation and management of Australian humpback dolphins.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)157-192
    Number of pages36
    Publication statusPublished - 2016


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