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Injuries, healing and management of common dolphins (Delphinus delphis) in human-impacted waters in the south Iberian Peninsula

  • Liliana Olaya-Ponzone (a1), Rocío Espada (a1) (a2) (a3) (a4), Estefanía Martín Moreno (a3) (a4), Isabel Cárdenas Marcial (a1) and José C. García-Gómez (a1)...


This study focuses on the dolphins populating the water between Gibraltar and Algeciras in the south Iberian Peninsula, an area subjected to pressure due to high human activity. The area is considered an important feeding and breeding ground for common dolphins (Delphinus delphis). Due to the degree of residence of some specimens, and the large gap in knowledge about the evolution of wounds in D. delphis specimens with lacerations, this work sought to perform the following analyses: identify lacerated individuals; characterize sequences of ‘before – during – after’ with respect to the occurrence of lacerations; and associate the type of injury with its severity. This work will inform future studies by expanding a database on injured individuals and contribute to periodical monitoring of specimens that frequent these geographic areas. Between 2013 and 2017, we were able to track the healing process of five injured individuals of common dolphins from a whale-watching platform thanks to photo identification. The animals exhibited fresh external wounds from different sources. In the majority of individuals, the wound-healing processes lasted 3–21 weeks. The frequency with which sightings are made and knowledge about the local population will help track injured animals, follow their wound evolution, and document their survival rates. The documented injuries inflicted by human interactions described in this paper may include fishing interactions and propeller strikes, probably as a consequence of the high intensity of recreational fishing and whale-watching activities in the area.


Corresponding author

Author for correspondence: Liliana Olaya-Ponzone, E-mail:


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Injuries, healing and management of common dolphins (Delphinus delphis) in human-impacted waters in the south Iberian Peninsula

  • Liliana Olaya-Ponzone (a1), Rocío Espada (a1) (a2) (a3) (a4), Estefanía Martín Moreno (a3) (a4), Isabel Cárdenas Marcial (a1) and José C. García-Gómez (a1)...


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