Dolphins can often be identified by the nicks and notches in their dorsal fins. These are caused by rough play, shark attacks and even damage from boat propellers.

GMR researchers have estimated approximately 250 dolphins frequent the Cape Naturaliste area. About 25% of these have identifying damage to their dorsal fins. They have been photographed for about 8 years and this provides a long term record that can be used in Mark-Recapture analysis to provide a new understanding of this previously unresearched population of dolphins. We already know that some of these dolphins (with easily identifiable damage) have stayed in the area over the whole 8 year period and still accompany the dolphins they were with when they were originally photographed!

identifying unique dorsal fins

These photographs are still to be processed. As computer based matching techniques evolve GMR hope to fund a project to process these photographs in the future. In the meantime the photography continues.

The dolphins love to surf. They will catch a wave and ride it into the beach. At the last moment they will turn and leap out of the back of the wave sometimes 3-4 meters into the air. When the conditions are right they will continue this for hours.

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