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2019 Port Stephens Bottlenose Dolphin Census

On Sunday 16th June, 2019 in conjunction with Port Stephens Naturefest, the Marine Parks Association will be conducting a population census of our Resident Bottlenose Dolphins. We are looking for volunteers to participate in the census which will take place between 11am-12pm. The dolphin census is important because it gives us insight into the health of the population. It is intended to be fun for participants, who will also be collecting important information about our dolphins. 


How will the census work?

On Sunday, 16 June, during the census volunteers will be distributed around Port Stephens and up and down the coast. Each volunteer will be between 1 and 2 kilometres apart. Additionally, we will be looking for boats to monitor areas within the Port. At each census site, observers will take photographs and record information about the dolphins encountered during the census period.



Each Census site will require at least one observer for the duration of the census, from 11:00am-12:00pm. It is important that everyone participates at the same time so we know that dolphins have not been counted twice. It is also important that you fill in the census form correctly so the official counters can analyse the data and reduce chances of errors. During that time, we ask that observers attempt to obtain Identification shots of the dolphins they encounter. This is best done with a DSLR camera with a focal length of greater than 50mm. To learn more about taking dolphin Identification shots, click here.

At the conclusion of the census, participants will submit their photos and data via the Marine Parks Association website. 

Each Census site will receive an Official Port Stephens Dolphin Census Kit, including data collection sheets, instructions for filling out the forms and a map of Port Stephens.

What if there is bad weather on the day?

If it is raining and/or very windy making conditions for the census unsuitable, a representitive from the Marine Parks Association will attempt to contact each group prior to the scheduled census time to cancel.

Participate in the 2019 Port Stephens Dolphin Census!
Complete the form below to register your interest in the upcoming census, after completing the form, an information pack will be emailed to you along with confirmation of your census viewing point.
The information pack includes data collection sheets, instructions for filling out and submitting reports, photo tips and a map of Port Stephens. 

It's not too late to join in the 2019 Dolphin census

Download your Census Information Pack and grab a spot on the shoreline!

Don't forget to nominate your preferred census viewing point from the map below! 

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