The Indian Ocean humpback dolphin was recently listed as endangered in South African waters. The local population faces a number of anthropogenic threats due to its preference for shallow coastal waters. With an estimated population size of 500 individuals, it is considered to be South Africa’s most endangered resident marine mammal. With the support from Ocean Blue Adventures and the ORCA Foundation we set up dedicated boat-based monitoring project to collect sighting and photo-identification data of individuals that frequented Plettenberg Bay during 2018 and 2019. The data will contribute towards existing collaborative research projects of the Nelson Mandela University and SouSA Consortium, which aims to increase our knowledge of the species, monitor their numbers and eventually inform conservation management decisions with much needed scientific advice to help develop mitigation measures and limit their potential threats.

A humpback dolphin jumps from the back of a wave along Keurbooms beach. (Credit: Danielle Conry)