On FBA's Capricorn Coast, research is taking place on three dolphin
species, the Indo-Pacific Humpback dolphin (
), Inshore Bottlenose dolphin (
) and a dolphin which was only identified in 2005 - the Australian
). The first new dolphin species to be discovered in more than 50
years, the Snub-fin dolphin was confused for years with the
Irrawaddy dolphin. Now recognised as an individual species, some of
its characteristics are that it is three coloured - dark, light
brown and white - has a rounded forehead, unlike other Australian
dolphins, and a very small 'snubby' dorsal fin (see picture below).
Photo of an Australian Snub-fin dolphin breaching.
(Photo courtesy of EPA)
The Projects Targets...
This research project has been funded under the Australian
Government's Natural Heritage Trust, through the FBA. The FBA, in
partnership with the Southern Cross University (SCU), Whale
Centre's, Peter Harrison (Director) and Daniele Cagnazzi (Post
Graduate Researcher). Along with invaluable data about the three
dolphin species being collected and reported on, those who are
involved with the project will design a local management plan.
The targets of this project include:
- Assessing occurrence, distribution and density of Snubfin and
Indo-Pacific Humpback dolphins in the northern areas of the Fitzroy
River and Coastal Catchments, which is from Shoalwater Bay to St
- Assessing trend and movement patterns of the Pearl Bay, Keppel Bay
and Gladstone Humpback dolphin populations.
- Assessing movement pattern and trend of the Fitzroy River Snub-fin
- Assessing Shoalwater Bay cetaceans population. Determine variation
of distribution and density of inshore dolphins species in
Photo's curtesy of EPA and Daniele Cagnazzi (PhD Research Student-
To listen to Daniele Cagnazzi being interviewed about his research
Photo of Daniele Cagnazzi (SCU-PhD Research Student) and Shane
Westley (FBA's Coastal & Marine Program Coordinator)
fact sheet on the snubfin dolphin
is available from the website of WWF Australia, which allocated
the snubfin dolphin the highest status as a Priority One Flagship
Coastal and Marine Homepage