Okhotsk Beluga Whale: Independent Scientific Assessment

In March of this year, a small panel chaired by Randall Reeves and including CSG members Barb Taylor and Bob Brownell, was convened by the IUCN Species Survival Commission to provide an independent scientific assessment of recent research on belugas in the Sakhalin–Amur region of eastern Russia. This research, which is ongoing, is sponsored by oceanaria and is intended to, among other things, provide a scientific basis for determining the sustainability of live-capture removals. To view or download the panel’s report, published in May 2011, click here:

New Website Launched – Freshwater Dolphins of the World

The ‘Freshwater Dolphins of the World’ website was launched in early 2011 to provide a central resource for information relating to freshwater dolphins. The site contains information on all of the species, subspecies and populations of true and river-flow-dependent freshwater dolphin populations. It also provides links to other websites that feature specific projects related to freshwater dolphins. The intention is to raise awareness of how threatened these species are. To visit the site, follow the link below: http://www.freshwater-cetaceans.co.cc/

Workshop Report Released: Determining and quantifying threats to coastal cetaceans

Determining and quantifying threats to coastal cetaceans:  A regional collaborative workshop: 21-24 February 2011, Kuching, Sarawak, Malaysia, Edited by G. Minton and B.D. Smith.

In February 2011, 27 cetacean researchers from the South Asian region came together at the Permai Rainforest Resort in Kuching, Sarawak to discuss means to better incorporate threat assessment into conservation-based research on coastal cetaceans.The core participants were from Peninsular and East Malaysia, Bangladesh, Brunei, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Sri Lanka and Thailand, with international representation from the USA, Australia and Britain. The opening ceremony included presentations and participation by local stakeholders, academics, and NGOs.The emphasis was on small cetaceans with near- and inshore distributions that do not extend beyond the continental shelf: the Irrawaddy dolphin Orcaella brevirostris, finless porpoise Neophocaena phocaenoides, Indo-Pacific humpback dolphin Sousa chinensis, and Indo-Pacific bottlenose dolphin Tursiops aduncus. Participants also recognized that nearshore waters in Southeast Asia provide vital habitat for populations of some pelagic species (e.g., spinner dolphins Stenella longirostris and dwarf spinner dolphins, S. longirostris roseiventris) and support at least two large baleen whales: small-form of Bryde’s whales Balaenoptera edeni and Omurai’s whales B. omurai.

The report begins with a powerful foreword by Randy Reeves, IUCN Cetacean Specialist Group Chair, and includes abstracts from the core presentations of the workshop, summaries of panel discussions and working group sessions, and detailed appendices including summaries of active research projects led by the workshop participants throughout the region.  It includes identification of key knowledge gaps in the region, and practical recommendations for future research and follow-up networking between participants and a wider forum of colleagues dealing with similar challenges.

To view or download the workshop report click here:

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