2,801Grants to


Heaviside's Dolphin (Cephalorhynchus heavisidii)

Mohamed bin Zayed Species project number 0925693

Mohamed bin Zayed Species Conservation (Project No. 0925693) - Heaviside's Dolphin - Awarded $10,000 on March 01, 2010

The mission of the Namibian Dolphin Project:

To assess the conservation status of dolphins and whales in Namibian waters, especially the endemic Heaviside’s dolphin.

To work closely with the local community to create awareness of, and manage threats to the dolphin populations. To provide training to local management/ conservation groups, in order to promote the longerterm monitoring and conservation of cetacean populations in Namibia.

Our objectives:

1. Generate essential baseline data on the conservation status of the Heaviside's dolphin and other inshore dolphin species in Namibia through estimating population abundance, assessing threats, species distribution and habitat use.

2. Develop, in conjunction with local scientists and conservators, effective and sustainable methods for the long term monitoring of inshore dolphin species, especially the endemic Heaviside’s dolphins, using static acoustic monitoring.

3. Develop a strandings network, involving trained and informed people within Namibia, to deal with the rescue of live stranded cetaceans & the collection of valuable scientific data from dead animals.

4. Encourage awareness and interest in marine science and conservation through training workshops to scientists and conservators and talks to the local community and especially schools to increase interest in their marine fauna, a sense of ownership and the need to protect it.

5. Develop a research infrastructure and network that is available for broader marine research in the area both within the project and through external collaboration.

The Namibian Dolphin Project was established in May 2008 by Drs Simon Elwen and Ruth Leeney. We work in the coastal waters of Namibia, from Swakopmund/ Walvis Bay area south to Lüderitz, encompassing several key habitat areas for dolphins and other marine mammals such as humpback whales and South African fur seals. We work in collaboration with local government, non-profit organisations and local marine stakeholders, to learn more about the cetaceans (whales and dolphins) of Namibia and to ensure that they are protected and managed for future generations.


A number of publications have resulted from this work, including the following:

  • Leeney RH, Post, K, Best PB, Hazevoet, CJ and Elwen SH (2013) - Pygmy right whale Caperea marginata records from Namibia. African Journal of Marine Science 35(1), pp 133-139
  • Elwen, SH, Gridley, T, Roux, J-P, Best, PB and Smale MJ (2013) - Records of kogiid whales in Namibia, including the first record of the dwarf sperm whale (Kogia sima). Marine Biodiversity Records 6(e45). pp 1-8
  • Elwen, SH, Meintjies, J and Roux J-P (2012) - Death under the surface – Cape fur seal predating on a southern giant petrel in Walvis Bay, Namibia. Ornithological Observations. http://oo.adu.org.za/content.php?id=60
  • Elwen, SH, Findlay, KP, Kiszka, J and CR Weir (2011). - Cetacean research in the southern African subregion: a review of previous studies and current knowledge. African Journal of Marine Science 33(3) pp 469-493
  • Barendse, J, Best, PB, Thornton, M, Elwen, SH, Rosenbaum, HC, Carvalho, I, Pomilla, C, Collins, TJQ, Meÿer MA and Leeney RH (2011). - Transit station or destination? Attendance patterns, regional movement, and population estimate of humpback whales Megaptera novaeangliae off West South Africa based on photographic and genotypic matching. African Journal of Marine Science 33(3) pp 353-373
  • Leeney, RH, Carslake, D and Elwen SH (2011) - Using Static Acoustic Monitoring to describe Echolocation Behaviour of Heaviside’s Dolphins in Namibia. Aquatic Mammals. 37(2) pp 151-160
  • Elwen, SH and Leeney RH (2010) - Injury and Subsequent Healing of a Propeller Strike Injury to a Heaviside’s Dolphin (Cephalorhynchus heavisidii). Aquatic Mammals, 36(4): 382-387


Project 0925693 location - Namibia, Africa