Assessment of the conservation status of the Indian Ocean Humpback Dolphin (Sousa plumbea) Using the IUCN red list criteria

Gill T. Braulik*, Ken Findlay, Salvatore Cerchio, Robert Baldwin

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

34 Citations (Scopus)


Indian Ocean humpback dolphins (Sousa plumbea) are obligate shallow-water dolphins that occur exclusively in the near-shore waters of the Indian Ocean, from South Africa to the Bay of Bengal. They have a narrow habitat preference, restricted distribution and do not appear very abundant across any part of their range. There is no estimate of total species abundance; all populations that have been quantitatively evaluated have been small in size, usually fewer than 200 individuals. Fishing, dredging, land reclamation, construction blasting, port and harbour construction, pollution, boat traffic and other coastal development activities all occur, or are concentrated within, humpback dolphin habitat and threaten their survival. Although data are far from sufficient to make a rigorous quantitative assessment of population trends for this species, the scale of threats is large enough over a significant enough portion of the range to suspect or infer a decline of at least 50% over three generations, which qualifies it for listing on the IUCN Red List as Endangered. The issue primarily responsible is incidental mortality in fisheries, but the loss and degradation of habitat is likely a contributing factor. None of the threats have been adequately addressed in any part of the species' range, even though threat levels are increasing virtually everywhere.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationAdvances in Marine Biology
PublisherAcademic Press/Elsevier
Number of pages23
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2015

Publication series

NameAdvances in Marine Biology
ISSN (Print)0065-2881
ISSN (Electronic)2162-5875


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