A significant donation from Fremantle Ports will help ensure the long-term conservation of bottlenose dolphins in Perth metropolitan waters.
The funding support is for the Coastal and Estuarine Dolphin Project (CEDP), a collaborative project between Murdoch and Curtin Universities.
Murdoch University Research Fellow and CEDP Coordinator, Dr Hugh Finn, said the research project would study the health and ecology of the dolphins in the Swan River, Inner Harbour and Cockburn Sound.
“The initial focus of the project is a four-year study of the dolphins inhabiting the estuary and inner harbour,” Dr Finn said.
“Fremantle Ports have been a strong supporter of our research in the past and we look forward to working with them in the coming years as we conduct comprehensive research in to the resident population of dolphins and their interactions with their environment.”
The project will provide ongoing support for Dolphin Watch, a community monitoring project run by the Swan River Trust’s River Guardian program in collaboration with Murdoch and Curtin.
“We’ll also be monitoring the effect of human and natural stressors that impact on the dolphins and continue to investigate the role of pathogens and human-induced injuries on the death of dolphins,” said Dr Finn.
“Important information will be collected on the size of dolphin populations, their ranging patterns and their feeding habits.”
Manager External Affairs at Fremantle Ports, Ms Ainslie de Vos said that Fremantle Ports will also contribute to the collection of data for the project and encourage the community to track sightings of dolphins in the inner harbour on their website.
“The staff at Fremantle Ports have been recording sightings of dolphins as a contribution to dolphin research for several years,” Ms de Vos said.
“Our new website has an interactive mapping system which now allows the public to map where they have seen dolphins.”
CEDP will combine the research expertise of Murdoch and Curtin Universities with the support of corporate, community and government partners.
Further contributions are needed to ensure the success of the program. For information contact Dana Henderson, Manager Faculty Development, Murdoch University on 9360 6507 or firstname.lastname@example.org.