The Consortium for the Conservation of the Atlantic Humpback Dolphin (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;
The CCAHD is intended to be an umbrella organization, that brings together a steadily increasing number of national partner organizations and individuals within the species range states, international conservation management bodies, and cetacean scientists from around the world. The CCAHD’s aim is to provide robust conservation advice on the Atlantic humpback dolphin. The Consortium currently organizes its work through Working Groups, that 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.
Working towards the long-term sustainability of Atlantic humpback dolphin (Sousa teuszii) populations and their habitats through research, awareness, capacity-building and action.
Who we are
The CCAHD does not yet have a formal structure. The provisional coordinators/facilitators are Tim Collins, Gianna Minton and Caroline Weir. All are members of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Cetacean Specialist Group, and have experience working with Atlantic humpback dolphins.
The current CCAHD Working Group conveners comprise:
- WG1: CMS Concerted Action – Tim Collins
- WG2: Outreach/Awareness/Capacity building – Lucy Keith-Diagne and Gianna Minton
- WG3: Population field surveys – Caroline Weir
- WG4: Genetic diversity – Michael McGowen
- WG5: Dead animal sampling – Forrest Gomez
- WG6: Interview surveys – Gill Braulik
- WG7: Health assessments – Forrest Gomez
- WG8: Acoustic monitoring – Caroline Weir
- WG9: Bycatch and hunting – Marguerite Tarzia
- WG10: Coastal development – Tom Jefferson
- WG12: Fund-raising – Grant Abel
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: An IWC Africa-Focused Sousa Task Team was initiated in January 2020 to “start working towards developing a comprehensive framework of conservation actions” for the Atlantic humpback dolphin and the Indian Ocean humpback dolphin.
Support in range states
A critical part of the CCAHD’s work is to build local expertise in Atlantic humpback dolphin range states, liaise with range state governments to improve national species status, and increase within-country general awareness of the species. Achieving those goals relies on establishing a network of local partners and national contact points in all of the confirmed and potential range states.
The current list of CCAHD members and partners can be found HERE. The CCAHD welcomes contact from any local biologists, NGOs or interested individuals to further expand this network and maximize opportunities for conservation and collaboration.
CCAHD work has received funding from:
- The Friends of Nuremberg Zoo and NUREMBERG ZOO. During the final quarter of 2020, funding was provided for website development and employment of a CCAHD Coordinator to facilitate Working Group activities and funding applications.
- The Loro Parque Foundation has agreed to fund much-needed survey work in the Saloum Delta of Senegal in 2021.
Support in kind has been donated by (alphabetically):
- African Aquatic Conservation Fund
- Ketos Ecology
- Wildlife Conservation Society
- 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.