Moreton Bay Dolphin Research Project
In July, we managed to commence the 7th field season for our Moreton Bay Dolphin Research Project. Due to the COVID restrictions, we were able to have a skeleton team of three people on the boat. But we are very grateful we were able to get a few surveys in – this year being a crucial year in this long-term data which in part aims to record the life histories and breeding of the Vulnerable Australian humpback dolphins and Near Threatened Indo-Pacific bottlenose dolphins in Moreton Bay.
During our first surveys, we were overjoyed to welcome some new calves into the Australian humpback dolphin population! Meet Sandra (ID # 60) who we first met during our first year of surveys in 2014. She is part of the community that live near Amity Point, North Stradbroke Island. Sandra is an older female that we can see from the pigmentation loss and density of speckling on her dorsal fin and melon. In 2015, we recorded Sandra with a young calf that is now weaned and known as Sarah (ID #137). Between May and July, Sandra gave birth to a new calf. Sarah is now independent and we have recorded Sarah feeding with other adolescents of similar ages. We will continue to record the life of Sandra and her calves who have become key representatives of their kind. The reproductive and calving success of the Australian humpback dolphin remains unknown and can only be obtained through long-term and continuous records that we are gaining through our Moreton Bay Dolphin Research Project.
We were also luck to encounter Muppet (ID #007) and her juvenile off Lamb Island in Southern Moreton Bay. Muppet is a female Indo-Pacific bottlenose dolphin who is another key female resident to Southern Moreton Bay and the Gold Coast who we have been observing since 2010 (she is also part of our dolphin adoption program). Muppet and her calf were observed feeding with other well-known females including ‘Smudge’ and ‘Dory’ both with their young calves. In hot pursuit of the females was a male alliance keenly following. Taking no notice of the males, the females remained very focused on feeding.