Hector's dolphins and snow leopards

Here's a couple of quick highlights from the past month.

South coast South Island Hector's dolphin project update

We have now completed the analysis of the aerial survey data that was collected earlier in the year, to estimate the abundance and distribution of Hector's dolphin along the south coast of the South Island. As mentioned previously, the surveys couldn't be fully completed due to the weather, with preliminary analyses suggesting the results would be close to what had been planned. While we are are unable to share the final estimates until the scientific review process is completed and the report is made public, we can confirm that the full analysis confirmed our earlier result. A particular pleasing aspect of the study was that our recommendation to survey one particular area multiple times to increase the number of on-effort sightings certainly paid dividends, resulting in a robust abundance estimate. We'll be sure to share the final results here once they are officially released.

International Conference for Snow Leopard Conservation

As mentioned last month, Darryl was invited to attend the International Conference for Snow Leopard Conservation in Shenzhen, China, in early September. It was a very interesting conference and a fantastic opportunity for Darryl to meet many of those directly involved with the conservation efforts for this important species. The sheer scale of the task ahead, to estimate the abundance and distribution of snow leopards, is mind blowing! Snow leopards are spread from southern Russia, through the mountainous regions of China to the Himalayas, and into Uzbekistan at the western extent of their range. They are typically found at higher elevations, where the field work is extremely challenging, and at very low densities. To achieve their goal is going to require a huge collaborative effort with many research groups spread across many countries, and involve clever thinking to decide how to deploy the available survey effort in an efficient manner. Darryl is looking forward to contributing to this very worthwhile endevour!