Initial evidence of dolphin takes in the Niger Delta region and a review of Nigerian cetaceans


Uwagbae, M. and Van Waerebeek, K.



Secondary Title

Document presented to the Scientific Committee of the International Whaling Commission






Nigeria, Niger Delta, Megaptera novaeangliae, Sousa teuszii, Atlantic humpback dolphin, Directed take, hunting, Human interactions, Hydrocarbons, threats, distribution


An interview survey among artisanal fishermen from Brass Island, Niger Delta, in 2008-2009 revealed, for the first time, regular takes of delphinids in Nigerian coastal waters. Three fishermen at Imbikiri, Brass Island, were identified as dedicated ‘dolphin hunters’ . Evidence is difficult to obtain but one video footage authenticated the landing of a live common bottlenose dolphin. Fraser’s dolphin is suggested to occur offshore (probable sighting) but no other documented sightings of odontocetes are published, despite the massive exploration effort for hydrocarbons. A cow neonate pair of humpback whales was sighted in western Nigeria, at the Togo border, on 9 September 2001 during a survey of the austral population that breeds in the Bight of Benin. In view of the abysmal state of knowledge, as to add to the inventory and zoogeography of Nigeria’s cetaceans even baseline coastal surveys could yield significant insights. Particularly pressing is an indepth assessment of the contemporary and historical presence (or absence), of the vulnerable Atlantic humpback dolphin Sousa teuszii and an estimate of the extent and composition of dolphin takes.