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Scientists, rangers combine to unlock dolphin secrets
KLC Scientists, rangers combine to unlock dolphin secrets

Unlocking the secrets of rare and endangered dolphins was the mission during a scientific trip for indigenous rangers earlier this month.

The Kimberley Land Council’s Balanggarra Rangers collaborated with scientists from World Wildlife Fund Australia to scour the north Kimberley coastline on a three-day survey trip.

During the excursion, the group conducted research on the Indo-Pacific humpback dolphin and the snubfin dolphin, which was recognised as a new species in 2005.

The group found and recorded pods of Indo-Pacific humpback dolphins, but failed to find any snubfin species, despite previous confirmed sightings of pods.

WWF Australia scientist Alexander Watson said the research trip was important to discover more about the species.

“We need to find out more about the snubfin dolphin so we can have the information to be able to protect and manage it into the future,” he said.

“Because so little is known about this species, every bit of information counts.”

Mr Watson said scientists had been working closely with rangers for the past four years to build the information base for understanding and managing inshore dolphin species.

Balanggarra ranger James Birch said the trip highlighted the vastness of land and sea managed by rangers and how rare the snubfin species was.