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Hundreds of Humpback Dolphins Found off Abu Dhabi
By Joanna Lentini, August 10, 2017 @ 08:00 PM (EST)
Source: The National News

Humpback dolphins

 

Off the coast of Abu Dhabi, scientists have discovered the presence of 700 of the rare Sousa plumbea, or humpback dolphins. These distinctive creatures aren’t usually observed in such large numbers, but researchers who spent 55 days at sea over a period of five months observed dolphins on 32 of those days. They recorded their movements by developing a method that allowed them to identify individual dolphins. This method involved photographing their dorsal fins, all of which have distinctive markings much like our fingerprints are unique to us, and adding those images to a database so they would be able to recognize them when seen again and thereby arrive at a more accurate number.

Unfortunately for the dolphins, human activity, such as dredging, fishing, and shipping, has impacted their health and safety because of how close to shore these unusual creatures live, usually within three miles of the shoreline.  Some indication of harm has been recorded already, such as scars from propeller impact or fishing gear entanglement; in fact, 12 percent of the dolphins recorded had dorsal fin damage clearly visible. But the extent of the harm has not been calculated. For now, the researchers are observing them carefully, looking for signs of more negative impact and hoping that the dolphin numbers won’t decrease as a result.

Read more here.

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