DAO 123:257-262 (2017)  -  DOI: https://doi.org/10.3354/dao03098

NOTE
Severe mutilation of a Critically Endangered Taiwanese humpback dolphin Sousa chinensis taiwanensis by fishing gear

John Y. Wang1,2,3,*, Claryana Araújo-Wang1,4 

1CetAsia Research Group, 310-7250 Yonge Street, Thornhill, Ontario L4J 7X1, Canada
2Department of Biology, Trent University, 1600 West bank Drive, Peterborough, Ontario K9J 7B8, Canada
3National Museum of Marine Biology and Aquarium, 2 Houwan Road, Checheng, Pingtung, 944, Taiwan
4Botos do Cerrado - Pesquisas Ambientais, Goiânia, Goiás, Brazil
*Corresponding author:

ABSTRACT: Direct observations of the causes of injuries to cetaceans are rare events. For very small and declining populations, such events may be even less likely to be observed because of the few individuals that remain. A long-term monitoring program using photographic identification of individuals resulted in the documentation of an individual Taiwanese humpback dolphin Sousa chinensis taiwanensis that survived a harmful interaction with fishing gear. An adult female that was accompanied by a young calf sustained massive damage to several tissue types on her dorsal surface. From the injuries, it is clear that the animal had suffered intense trauma that likely caused pain for several months as the fishing gear sliced through its dorsal hump and fin. Given the incredible mutilation, the animal is likely compromised at some level and probably continues to experience ongoing pain. This case, along with observations of other individuals in this population bearing serious injuries or being entangled in fishing gear, is direct evidence that the impacts of local fisheries on this subspecies are almost certainly unsustainable.


KEY WORDS: Taiwan · Humpback dolphin · Injuries · Fisheries impact · Conservation · Critically Endangered · Entanglement


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Cite this article as: Wang JY, Araújo-Wang C (2017) Severe mutilation of a Critically Endangered Taiwanese humpback dolphin Sousa chinensis taiwanensis by fishing gear. Dis Aquat Org 123:257-262. https://doi.org/10.3354/dao03098

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