Rare Aussie dolphins found in PNG waters


TWO rare species of Australian dolphins have been found in Papua New Guinea waters leading to area’s recognition as a marine conservation area.
The International Union of Conservation and of Nature declared Kikori Delta an Important Marine Mammal Area (IMMA) after Dr Isabel Beasley discovered the two rare species of Australian dolphins there.
Beasley, a researcher from James Cook University in Australia, discovered the snubfin and humpback dolphins at the Kikori Delta while working on a project.
“The research identified small populations of the Australian snubfin and Australian humpback dolphin in the Kikori Delta. These species are not currently found elsewhere in the Pacific Islands,” she said.
“This was a significant discovery, as the snubfin dolphin is only currently found in northern Australia.”
Beasley said the project discovered that the Australian snubfin dolphin had previously been mistaken for another species.
Kikori Delta is now officially recognised as important for biodiversity and ecosystem health and will be taken into account in future conservation planning.
Beasley was working in collaboration with the PNG Conservation Environmental Protection Agency, University of Papua New Guinea and the PNG National Museum and Art Gallery.
Vagi Rei from CEPA’s PNG Marine Programme said the organisation promoted the conservation initiative and the significance of the area.
“We’re very pleased to have supported a collaborative research project that has identified the international importance of two marine mammal areas in Papua New Guinea waters,” he said.