New community mobile app could save stranded Peel dolphins

The Mandurah community will soon be able to participate in dolphin tracking and research when a mobile application is released, which would assist researchers in combating dolphin stranding. 

Mandurah Dolphin Research leader Krista Nicholson said the project would help researchers monitor and record dolphin locations, behaviour and growth rate.

“It is so exciting that this app is coming here, mostly to help with the dolphin stranding,” she said.

“Out of the 81 dolphins in the estuary, 19 of these have been stranded at least once. They just get caught by the tides.

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“Sometimes they get stuck in pools of water cut off by sandbanks and some get stuck on the sand, like Frill (the dolphin who died last month).”

Ms Nicholson said the app would be interactive and researchers would report back to users the statistics they had found or new reports on dolphins. 

The app would help researchers because they can not be everywhere, all the time, said Ms Nicholson. 

“The general public will be able to report sightings and data which will complement our research,” she said.

“It will significantly improve our understanding of how dolphins use our waterways and help the community take ownership of the situation.”

For about two years the community had pushed to extend the Swan River dolphin watch app to the Peel Harvey estuary, said Ms Nicholson. 

“There was a big push from John Tonkin College students, Mandurah Dolphin Research Group, Mandurah Volunteer Dolphin Rescue Group and Mandurah Cruises,” she said.

“Finally we are expanding it to Mandurah.”

The Perth app has over 1000 community members who record each time they spot a dolphin in the river. 

An event will be held on March 21 from 6-8.30pm at the Mandurah Seniors and Community Centre, to train the community on how to identify and record sightings using the dolphin watch app.

The John Tonkin College students who helped push for the app and call themselves the Estuary Guardians, will be hosting the free event.

They have created a Fin Book for the trained dolphin watchers, which would help those who have completed training to identify dolphins and their behaviours. 

RSVP by March 16, 2018.