[MARMAM] New publication on habitat characteristics and critical areas of Irrawaddy dolphin in Sarawak, Malaysia

Cindy Peter cindycharity.peter at gmail.com
Wed Jul 13 20:57:17 PDT 2016

Dear MARMAM colleagues,

My co-authors and I are pleased to announce our most recent publication in
Topics in Biodiversity and Conservation:

*Peter, C*.,  Zulkifli Poh, A.N., Ngeian, J., Tuen, A. A. and Minton, G.,
(2016). *Identifying habitat characteristics and critical areas of
Irrawaddy dolphin habitat (Orcaella brevirostris) in Kuching Bay, Sarawak,
Malaysia: Implications for conservation*. In Indraneil Das and Andrew A.
Tuen (Eds,), *Naturalists, Explorers and Field Scientists in Southeast Asia
and Australasia* Vol 15, Topics in Biodiversity and Conservation. Springer
International Publishing. DOI 10.1007/978-3-319-26161-4

Irrawaddy dolphins, *Orcaella brevirostris*, in the Kuching Bay, Sarawak,
Malaysia have been subjected to pressure from cetacean-fisheries
interactions, dolphin watching tourism and coastal development. However,
very little information is known about their ecology and factors driving
their habitat preferences. To obtain critical information on the
distribution, habitat preference and range pattern of Irrawaddy dolphins in
Kuching Bay, Sarawak, systematic boat-based surveys were conducted between
June 2008 and October 2012. The results showed a statistically significant
relationship between Irrawaddy dolphins’ distribution and different
categories of salinity, tide levels and distance to river mouths.
Kruskal-Wallis tests confirmed that the presence of Irrawaddy dolphins in
Kuching Bay had statistically significant relationships to habitat
parameters of salinity (chi-square = 4.694, p = 0.03). Fisher’s exact test
indicated that Irrawaddy dolphins were statistically more likely to be
present in waters within a 6 km radius of river mouths. The distribution of
dolphins was also affected by tide levels as Mann-Whitney  U -tests proved
a statistically significant difference in dolphin distribution between tide
levels lower than 2.0 m and tide levels higher than 2.0 m (p = 3.153 ×
10−11 ). The representative range and core area of photo-identified
Irrawaddy dolphins estimated using fixed kernel range was 246.42 km2  and
37.22 km2 , respectively, with core area located in the Salak Estuary. The
results obtained in this study reflect dry season distribution only, and may
differ during the wet season. Nonetheless, these results highlight
the importance of shallow coastal waters and the overlap of Irrawaddy
dolphin critical habitat with that of human activities in Kuching Bay.
Conservation efforts are required to minimize the effects of the pressures
exerted on these animals and their habitats.

For full pdf, please send your email to cindycharity.peter at gmail.com

Cindy Peter

Cindy Peter, MSc (Marine Ecology)
Research Officer
Sarawak Dolphin Project
Institute of Biodiversity and Environmental Conservation
University Malaysia Sarawak
Office: +60 82 583 003
Mobile: +60 16 892 6027
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