Working towards the long-term sustainability of Atlantic humpback dolphin (Sousa teuszii) populations and their habitats through research, awareness, capacity-building and action.
The Consortium for the Conservation of the Atlantic Humpback Dolphin acts as an umbrella organization that brings together international conservation management bodies, cetacean scientists from around the world, and a steadily increasing number of organizations and individuals within the countries where the Critically Endangered Atlantic humpback dolphin is found. The CCAHD’s aim is to provide robust conservation advice on the Atlantic humpback dolphin. The Consortium currently organizes its work through working groups. These were established to evaluate and prioritize the actions needed to implement conservation projects on the ground, and to create the resources and capacity needed for local stakeholders to engage in research, monitoring, awareness-raising, and conservation planning. The outcome of these working groups’ systematic prioritization of conservation actions can be found in this report.
The CCAHD was initiated in response to growing concerns regarding the declining conservation status of the species over recent decades. The formation of the CCAHD in June 2020 was motivated by several events including:
- The uplisting of the IUCN conservation status of the Atlantic humpback dolphin from Vulnerable to Critically Endangered in 20171;
- A meeting of cetacean scientists at the World Marine Mammal Conference in Barcelona in December 2019, which discussed how to reinvigorate and prioritize conservation efforts for Atlantic humpback dolphins2;
- A desire to implement the conservation and management measures recommended for the species by the Convention on Migratory Species, the IUCN Cetacean Specialist Group and the International Whaling Commission. Despite several clear warning signs of declining status little progress has been made for the species during the 21st Century, and concerted collaborative effort is required to address this 3,4,5,6.
Partners in range countries
A critical part of the CCAHD’s work is to support local expertise in Atlantic humpback dolphin range countries, liaise with range country governments to improve national species status, and increase within-country general awareness of the species. Achieving those goals relies on a network of local partners and national contact points in all of the confirmed and potential range countries.
The current list of CCAHD members and partners can be found HERE and more insight into focal points and the status of knowledge about Atlantic humpback dolphins can be found by clicking on any of the range countries on our interactive map. The CCAHD welcomes contact from any local biologists, NGOs or interested individuals to further expand this network and maximize opportunities for conservation and collaboration.
Affiliated International Organizations
The CCAHD aims to help implement the conservation priorities identified by other international bodies focused on improving the conservation status of Atlantic humpback dolphins, including:
- International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Cetacean Specialist Group (CSG): A recent initiative by the CSG-Integrated Conservation Planning for Cetaceans (ICPC) aims to develop an action plan for each of the most threatened dolphin and porpoise species and populations, including the Atlantic humpback dolphin;
- Convention on Migratory Species(CMS): a Concerted Action (CA) for the Atlantic humpback dolphin was adopted by the CMS in 2017, and revised during February 2020. The CA includes the formulation of a five-year Plan of Action;
- International Whaling Commission (IWC): Through its Scientific Committee, the IWC Has made repeated recommendations for regional collaboration and conservation-based research to improve understanding of the species’ conservation status and address threats.
- Collins, T., Braulik, G.T. and Perrin, W. (2017). Sousa teuszii (errata version published in 2018). The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2017: e.T20425A123792572. https://dx.doi.org/10.2305/IUCN.UK.2017-3.RLTS.T20425A50372734.en. Downloaded on 07 October 2020.
- Weir, C.R. and Collins, T. (2020). Potential short- and medium-term targets for the conservation of Sousa teuszii. Unpublished report, 29 January 2020. 3pp. Available from the CCAHD.
- Van Waerebeek, K., Barnett, L., Camara, A., Cham, A., Diallo, M., Djiba, A., Jallow, A., Ndiaye, E., Ould-Bilal, A.O.S. and Bamy, I.L. 2004. Distribution, status, and biology of the Atlantic humpback dolphin, Sousa teuszii (Kukenthal, 1892). Aquatic Mammals 30(1): 56-83.
- Weir, C.R., Van Waerebeek, K., Jefferson, T.A. and Collins, T. (2011). West Africa’s Atlantic humpback dolphin (Sousa teuszii): endemic, enigmatic and soon Endangered? African Zoology, 46: 1–17.
- Collins, T. (2015). Re-assessment of the Conservation Status of the Atlantic Humpback Dolphin, Sousa teuszii (Kükenthal, 1892), Using the IUCN Red List Criteria. In: Thomas A. Jefferson and Barbara E. Curry, editors, Advances in Marine Biology, Vol. 72, Oxford: Academic Press, 2015, pp. 47-77
- Weir, C., Leeney, R. and Collins, T. (2020). Reinvigorating conservation efforts for the Atlantic humpback dolphin (Sousa teuszii): A brief progress report. Paper SC/68B/SM07 presented to the International Whaling Commission, Cambridge, UK.