Rare Australian dolphin at risk of extinction: Study

Canberra: The rare Australian humpback dolphin needs urgent protection to be saved from extinction, a study released on Wednesday said.

Researchers from Flinders University discovered new information about the population genetics of the Sousa sahulensis, commonly known as the humpback dolphin.

Scientists studied the Australian humpback dolphin, endemic to northern Australia and southern New Guinea, for 17 years before coming to the conclusion that it was a separate species within the Sousa family.

The study concluded that the deaths of even a few mature individuals per year could be detrimental to the viability of the humpback dolphin populations, Xinhua news agency reported.

“Our results show that Australian humpback dolphin populations along the east coast of Queensland are characterized by low levels of genetic diversity, limited gene flow, and small effective population size,” lead author Guido Parra told the media on Wednesday.

They are considered vulnerable by the International Union for Conservation of Nature Red List of threatened species.

Co-author Daniele Cagnazzi said the results should “raise important conservation concerns and emphasize the vulnerability of this species to random natural and human disturbances.”