In March and April 2021 we celebrated significant milestones in our region with our 16th and 10th Birthdays – 16+ years of Citizen Science in the region on Kangaroo Island since 2005 and 10 years since we expanded to Victor Harbor in 2011.
Volunteers, scientists and dolphins….. a magical mix!!
We have undertaken 336 boatbased research surveys on Kangaroo Island Marine Adventures www.kimarineadventures.com.au (220) and The Big Duck Boat Tours www.thebigduck.com.au (116) Eco Tourism vessels plus volunteers regularly joining marine tours in the region, collecting vital data to supplement our survey efforts. 64 boat surveys on KI core group volunteers Sue and John Holman’s small Stacer “Maggie” have been undertaken on Kangaroo Island since Feb 2019, plus a massive number of landbased monitoring surveys at various sites in the region.
Our purpose is to monitor and gather data regarding the movements of dolphins in our regional waters, creating ever expanding catalogues of Common Bottlenose dolphins and Shortbeaked Common dolphins, using photographic identification techniques taught to us by our mentor Dr Mike Bossley AM. Establishing dolphins’ home range and preferred habitats enables us to work towards increasing their protection with a view to conservation. Volunteers experience life changing community action and custodianship, caring for their environment and natural resources, impacting globally and effecting change.
Dolphin Watch was created as a project for senior students to involve them in practical environmental studies and issues related to the marine environment. It has morphed into a longitudinal community project which sees Citizen Science volunteers of all ages actively involved in data collection, analysis, collation, cataloguing etc. It is egalitarian as each participant can choose their own level of involvement and do as little or as much as they like to contribute. It has multi entry levels so that anyone interested can take part.
Volunteers all have passion in common plus a love for dolphins and the marine environment. Everyone can see the need and understand the relevance of the work and the need for it to be undertaken. Its value to the global community and worldwide conservation effort is understood fully.
We recently completed an extensive detailed review of the Kangaroo Island data and are well on the way to completing the Victor Harbor review, with analysis and transformation of this fascinating regional data. Working with our scientific advisors towards higher levels of protection than currently exist, our current focus areas include non seasonal breeding plus further connectivity investigations etc.
The designation of Kangaroo Island’s North Coast as a Mission Blue Hope Spot www.mission-blue.org in 2020 is a great recent success. The project has won many awards over the years including an IFAW and two UN Awards and the Australian Government’s Minister’s Award for Coastal Custodians in 2007. We trust that bringing international attention to bear on the Hope Spots – Kangaroo Island North Coast and the Great Southern Reef www.greatsouthernreef.com, and the remarkable endemism which abounds, the message will gradually get out there. So much protection and conservation effort has brought the Great Australian Bight and Kangaroo Island’s waters on to the world stage and started gleaning interest in the temperate waters wonderland that exists.
Through the involvement of the International Union for Conservation of Nature www.iucn.org in both the Hope Spot and the recent Important Marine Mammals Area designation, the word is spreading about the special nature of the Reef.
Grateful thanks as always to our wonderful partners, sponsors, supporters and volunteers who make it all happen.
Please hop on over to follow our ongoing Citizen Science activities on Instagram and Facebook @kivhdolphinwatch or Twitter @KIDolphinWatch and should you be in the region we would love to see you and welcome you on board!
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