The Photo-ID Project

In November 2017, as a national collaboration among research groups, we completed the first comprehensive assessment of the species’ population status and viability through dedicated field surveys and inter-site comparison of data. Through collating 16 years of photo-ID data from 13 different location we individually identified 247 uniquely, well-marked humpback dolphins in South Africa over this time period. 

The project is based on photo-identification, a research technique through which we can identify each dolphin through the physical characteristics of its dorsal fin which are considered unique and permanent. This is the reason why we try to collect as many pictures as possible of humpback dolphins! 






This research continues with photo-ID data collection across the country, with results assisting in the identification of priority conservation actions towards the endangered humpback dolphin. 












Our related collaborative scientific publication: 

Vermeulen E, Bouveroux T, Plön S, Atkins S, Chivell W, Cockcroft V, Conry D, Genarri E, Hörbst S, James BS, Kirkman S, Penry G, Pistorius P, Thornton M, Vargas Fonseca A, Elwen S. 2018. Indian Ocean humpback dolphin (Sousa plumbea) movement patterns along the South African coast. Aquatic Conservation: Marine and Freshwater Ecosystems 28: 231-240. DOI: 10.1002/aqc.2836


Picture Copyright S Dines