Humpback Dolphins (
Africa, Atlantic Ocean, Coastal, Ecology, Group size, Marine ecoregion, Nearshore, Sea surface temperature, Water depth, Gabon, congo, Sousa, Sousa teuszii, Conservation status
The Atlantic humpback dolphin (Sousa teuszii) is an obligate shallow water dolphin that is endemic to the western coasts of Africa, ranging from Western Sahara to Angola. The species occurs exclusively in a limited number of near-shore habitats, a tendency that routinely exposes it to a suite of lethal and deleterious anthropogenic threats. These include habitat degradation, accidental capture in artisanal fishing nets, and hunting for use as food and bait. The species also competes with rapidly expanding human populations for coastal resources in some of the poorest countries on Earth. Data for most aspects of the species’ ecology are sparse, but S. teuszii is considered by most qualified observers to be rare and greatly threatened. A lack of appropriate survey data precludes a quantitative assessment of population trends and status. Most populations for which any data are available are considered to be extremely small, numbering in the tens or low hundreds of individuals. The available published estimates suggest that the total population likely falls below 3000 individuals. Declines in abundance have been observed or are suspected for each population and will continue, given projected expansions of identified threats that affect most of the species’ known range, and a corresponding lack of appropriate management actions. The apparent scale of threats, the presumed isolation of most populations, and a lack of directed conservation efforts in most areas suggest that the species qualifies for a listing of Critically Endangered (under criteria A3cd) on the IUCN Red List.