Title

Chapter seven – conservation status of the Australian humpback dolphin (sousa sahulensis) using the IUCN Red List Criteria

Document Type

Article

Publication details

Parra, GJ & Cagnazzi, D 2016, 'Chapter seven – conservation status of the Australian humpback dolphin (sousa sahulensis) using the IUCN Red List Criteria', Advances in Marine Biology, vol. 73, pp. 157-192.

Published version available from:

http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/bs.amb.2015.07.006

Peer Reviewed

Peer-Reviewed

Abstract

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 population sizes and trends across the species range is lacking. Recent genetic studies indicate Australian humpback dolphins live in small and relatively isolated populations with limited gene flow among them. The available 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 anticipated. 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 information towards the future conservation and management of Australian humpback dolphins.