Accès membre


Indian Ocean Humpback Dolphin Conservation Network – HuDoNet

Endangered Indian Ocean humpback dolphins are restricted to a very narrow strip of shallow (<25m ) coastal waters  around the rim of the western Indian Ocean, including some of its islands and adjoining Gulfs. This habitat preference exposes the species to a range of anthropogenic threats, and many preferred areas are intensely fished, exposed to maritime traffic and are frequently modified and polluted. In many areas humpback dolphin numbers are declining at a rapid rate.

Gill Braulik, Els Vermeulen and Ada Natoli recognised that the conservation of the species across its range is much too big for any one researcher or organisation to handle and realised that the solution needs to be bigger too. They decided that the best way to galvanise the necessary conservation action would be to create a network of researchers and conservationists that share their concerns. Funds were secured to develop a network and employ a coordinator. They invited representatives from 16 countries in Sousa plumbea’s range to join the network, as well as some international researchers who work on the species. Thirty-six people from 13 range states and beyond met online at the end of November 2023 to establish who was keen to be involved, to listen to one another’s challenges and to consider how creating a network might help to overcome some of the challenges. The participants could see the value in creating a network and began to develop the structure and some shared goals for the Indian Ocean Humpback Dolphin Conservation Network – HuDoNet for short.

HuDoNet’s next steps are to define targets for the network by identifying knowledge gaps, the threats that impact the species and prioritising vital research and conservation targets. These targets should help us progress towards a larger goal of drawing up a species Conservation Action Plan that is evidence-based and implementable by the governments and people whose activities intersect with this shy and enigmatic dolphin.

Contributor: Shanan Atkins, HuDoNet coordinator