Cetaceans Dugong and Dolphins

  • Forty-four species of cetaceans are known in the Indian Ocean, but only 15 have been reported in the Gulf of Aden and only 11 from the Red Sea.
  • The Red Sea and Arabian Gulf region hosts one of the last remaining healthy populations of Dugong (Dugon dugon) in the western Indian Ocean region.
  • This cetacean could be found at: Khor Shinaab, northern Dungonab Bay, mainland coast to the north of Sheikh Okod, and southern Mukkawar mangroves.
  • The dugong is a globally threatened species. The fishing communities of Mohammed Qol and Dungonab indicated that the number of dugong is falling rapidly. This was blamed on their regular but accidental capture and the consequent drowning of dugong in fixed fishing nets.
  • Dugong are herbivores and they depend upon seagrasses. Thus, the very extensive areas of seagrass area crucial factor to protect this species.
  • At least two species of dolphin are at Dungonab Bay and Mukkawar Island area: bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops truncatus) and common dolphins (Delphinus delphis). These species were seen most frequently outside the Bay, only two dolphins, probably a female bottlenose with calf, was seen inside Dungonab Bay.
  • Common dolphins were seen by local boat users from the commercial pearl farm at Shambaya reef where they are apparently resident year-round.

Source: PREEN 2004; PERSGA 2004.