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In 2009, the end of the Victorian Millennium drought led to 12 years’ worth of rubbish and sediment built up in suburban drains being flushed into Port Phillip Bay. This caused a significant reduction in water quality.

Routine monitoring of bottlenose dolphins in Port Phillip during this time showed evidence of severe coverings of epidermal lesions, raising concerns about the health and welfare of the resident population. Our team carried out further investigations in 2011 to track the progression/regression of lesions and provide environmental managers with an understanding of how the breaking of the Millennium drought may have affected the resident bottlenose dolphins.

The following report outlines these investigations and our findings.