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Kerikeri, New Zealand

Tezanos-Pinto G.,University of Auckland | Tezanos-Pinto G.,Massey University | Constantine R.,University of Auckland | Mourao F.,University of Auckland | And 3 more authors.
Marine Mammal Science | Year: 2015

Bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops truncatus) in the Bay of Islands, New Zealand, have been studied for almost two decades. Since 2003, fewer than 150 dolphins visited the bay during each season and the local unit has declined 7.5% annually from 1997 to 2006. The causes of decline are unclear but probably include mortality and emigration. Here, we used a long-term database to estimate reproductive parameters of female bottlenose dolphins including recruitment rates. A total of 704 surveys were conducted in which 5,577 sightings of 408 individually identified dolphins were collected; of these 53 individuals were identified as reproductive females. The calving rate increased between periods (1997-1999 = 0.13, CL = 0.07-0.21; 2003-2005 = 0.25, CL = 0.16-0.35 calves/reproductive female/year). A 0.25 calving rate suggests that on average, a female gives birth only once every four years, which is consistent with the estimated calving interval (4.3 yr, SD = 1.45) but still is lower than values reported for other populations. Conversely, apparent mortality rates to age 1+ (range: 0.34-0.52) and 2+ (range: 0.15-0.59) were higher than values reported elsewhere. The high apparent calf mortality in conjunction with a decline in local abundance, highlight the vulnerability of bottlenose dolphins in the Bay of Islands. Long-term studies are required to understand the causes of high calf mortality and the decline in local abundance. Meanwhile, management should focus on minimizing sources of anthropogenic disturbance and enforcing compliance with current legislation. © 2014 Society for Marine Mammalogy. Source

Zaeschmar J.R.,Massey University | Visser I.N.,Orca Research Trust | Fertl D.,Ziphius EcoServices | Dwyer S.L.,Massey University | And 5 more authors.
Marine Mammal Science | Year: 2014

On a global scale, false killer whales (Pseudorca crassidens) remain one of the lesser-known delphinids. The occurrence, site fidelity, association patterns, and presence/absence of foraging in waters off northeastern New Zealand are examined from records collected between 1995 and 2012. The species was rarely encountered; however, of the 61 distinctive, photo-identified individuals, 88.5% were resighted, with resightings up to 7 yr after initial identification, and movements as far as 650 km documented. Group sizes ranged from 20 to ca. 150. Results indicate that all individuals are linked in a single social network. Most observations were recorded in shallow (<100 m) nearshore waters. Occurrence in these continental shelf waters is likely seasonal, coinciding with the shoreward flooding of a warm current. During 91.5% of encounters, close interspecific associations with common bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops truncatus) were observed. Photo-identification reveals repeat inter- and intraspecific associations among individuals with 34.2% of common bottlenose dolphins resighted together with false killer whales over 1,832 d. While foraging was observed during 39.5% of mixed-species encounters, results suggest that social and antipredatory factors may also play a role in the formation of these mixed-species groups. © 2013 Society for Marine Mammalogy. Source

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