Our most recent studies on the common dolphins and the first phase of the Dolphin Health Project is keeping us very focused on Port Phillip where more than a hundred bottlenose dolphins and up to twenty common dolphins permanently live – along with more than four million people!
We also had our “Help keep OUR dolphins in the Bay, Stay 100m Away” campaign this summer which is applicable to all locations (with a bit of poetic licence).
This doesn’t mean that in 2015 DRI is neglecting the dolphins in Western Port and the Gippsland Lakes – but we can’t be everywhere. We rely on sightings from the community to help give ‘snapshots’ of dolphin activity around Victoria.
We have community sightings dating back to 1991 and want to build this into a very important citizen science campaign that both involves the community and also contributes to the long-term understanding and protection of our dolphins.
Already over this summer, keen Western Port DRI members and volunteers have put up posters and distributed stickers about the dolphin-watching regulations. A possible post-graduate study is being considered by DRI; it would be looking at the small, resident bottlenose dolphin population off Balnarring and Merricks.
DRI has a large data-base of images of Gippsland Lakes dolphins dating back to the early 2000’s that we are painstakingly working through to identify individual dolphins. Also in the past we had a strong band of ‘dolphin spotters’ – unfortunately the sightings from this area have slowed. So, please, all you dolphin-spotters/watchers/lovers there in the Gippsland Lakes – send in your dolphin sightings to email@example.com or through our website www.dolphinresearch.org.au and also encourage other dolphin-spotters to report!
Without your sightings, we can’t know what the dolphins are doing, where they are feeding, when and where they are travelling, their numbers, etc. From this information we can put ‘dots on the map’ which helps to tell a story that is invaluable for the future management of these magnificent creatures.