Mandurah Dolphin Research Project (MDRP)

The project was established to conduct a population assessment, including abundance estimation, for dolphins occuping the Peel-Harvey Estuary and adjacent coastal waters. Since our research commenced, we have encountered more than 1200 groups of dolphins and identified over 500 individuals. The Peel-Harvey Estuary is occupied by a year-round resident social community of approximately 90 Indo-Pacific bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops aduncus).

MDRP has been a partnership between Murdoch University, City of Mandurah, Peel Development Commission through Royalties for Regions, Mandurah Cruises, Mandurah Volunteer Dolphin Rescue Group, and John and Bella Perry.

Thanks to the super efforts of our Mandurah volunteers over the past two years we’ve recorded over 2500 dolphin sightings throughout the Peel-Harvey Estuary!

Dolphin sightings in Mandurah (2022) – 2022 v 2021

Thank you to all Dolphin Watchers in Mandurah for your efforts in monitoring the local dolphin population over the past 12-months.

In 2022, Mandurah Dolphin Watchers recorded 280 dolphin groups in Mandurah. Please refer to the map below to see how these sightings are distributed throughout the Peel-Harvey Estuary and adjacent coastal waters.


Responding to dolphin strandings quickly

Mandurah has been identified as a bottlenose dolphin live stranding hotspot. In 1990, 10 male dolphins stranded alive in Lake Goegrup up the Serpentine River. Unfortunately, two of the dolphins passed away but the remaining eight were freeze branded, with numbers 01 to 08 and released into deeper water. Since then, 84 live stranding events have been recorded in the Peel-Harvey Estuary. Approximately half of these have been live strandings involving members of the resident dolphin community.

The Department has partnered with Peel-Harvey Catchment Council, City of Mandurah, Peel Preservation Group, and Mandurah Volunteer Dolphin Rescue Group through its Dolphin Watch project has invested more than $50,000 and installed four (4) surveilance cameras at stranding ‘hot spots’.

This project is supported by the Peel-Harvey Catchment Council, through funding from the Alcoa Foundation

Identifying the Mandurah dolphins

You can download the latest FinBook Guide for Mandurah, here: FinBook Mandurah 2023