• mark–recapture;
  • photo-identification;
  • population size;
  • distribution;
  • behavioral ecology;
  • hunt;
  • bycatch;
  • dolphin tourism;
  • critical areas;
  • TISS


Indo-Pacific bottlenose (Tursiops aduncus) and humpback dolphins (Sousa chinensis) off the south coast of Zanzibar, East Africa, have been subject to both direct and indirect takes as well as disturbance from local dolphin tourism during the last decade. Meanwhile, little or no information on population parameters exists for these animals. In order to assess the anthropogenic threats, a study was conducted between 1999 and 2002 to determine population sizes, distribution, and behavior of these animals. Population sizes were calculated for each year using mark-recapture methods applied to photo-identification data. The estimates ranged between 136 and 179 for the bottlenose dolphins and between 58 and 65 for the humpback dolphins in the calculated 26 km2 study area. Patterns in distribution and behavior were investigated using image and spatial statistic software on data from boat surveys. Analyses of spatial densities showed that both species concentrated their activities to smaller areas (2%–11.5%) within the study area. When the study results were considered in light of the anthropogenic threats, it was clear that immediate conservation measures were needed. This is critical if the negative impact on the species is to be minimized and the dolphins are to continue to represent a socioeconomic resource in the region.