Project background

Dr Hugh Finn and Dr Carly Holyoake from Murdoch University, and Dr Chandra Salgado from Curtin University are leading the research into Perth's Swan River dolphin community and investigating how environmental changes in the river and human activities can affect the dolphin community. Visit the following websites:

» Murdoch University’s Cetacean Research Unit
» Curtin University’s Centre for Marine Science and Technology

The research project builds on previous research conducted in 2002-03. It works with the River Guardians program to monitor the movement and behaviour of the dolphins.

Community involvement is a great boost to the research project and allows information to be gathered on how dolphins use the Canning and upper reaches of the Swan River – areas that experience problems such as low oxygen and algal blooms.

Dolphin Watch aims to provide better understand of dolphin ecology and their interactions with human activities, to improve our understanding of the Swan Cannng Riverpark. It will provide a comprehensive understanding of the Swan River dolphin community and the effects of human activities on the mammals.

Dolphins playing in the rivers are an iconic and much loved sight but the mammals’ habitat and community could be at risk. The Swan River dolphin community is small, dependent on a handful of females and living in an urban environment which places a lot of stress on the mammals. Pressures from loss of habitat, increased river usage by boats and other motorised vessels, climate change, entanglement, boat strikes and noise all impact the community.

Parks and Wildlife continues to urge the Perth public to look after the Riverpark to minimise stress on the dolphins. The public can play an essential role in monitoring this iconic species. Becoming a member of the Dolphin Watch program is a way the community can get directly involved in looking after these beautiful mammals.