Indian Ocean Humpback Dolphin

Sousa plumbea

Species name: Indian Ocean Humpback Dolphin
Scientific name:  Sousa plumbea


Locally known as: Deghs


Description: The Indian Ocean Humpback Dolphin is a slow-swimming dolphin, typically travelling at an average speed of 4.8 km/hr. It feeds on a variety of fish, cephalopods and crustaceans.


IUCN status: Near Threatened


Key threats: Entrapment in abandoned fishing nets and vessel strikes, habitat loss from dredging, land reclamation, port and harbour construction, noise pollution and other developmental activities.


Where they're found today: Abu Dhabi is home to the largest population in the world.  You can spot them in shallow waters and channels around the off-shore islands and the mainland of Abu Dhabi where they occur alone or in groups of up to 24 individuals.


Abu Dhabi’s efforts: EAD runs long-term research and monitoring programmes on Indian Ocean Humpback Dolphins, which helps us identify the areas that need monitoring and protection.


Fun facts:

  1. A dolphin calf can swim, within a few seconds of its birth, to follow its mother.
  2. Dolphins emit a unique whistle that identifies them with members of the same species and pod.
  3. Like bats, dolphins use echo-location to navigate and hunt, bouncing high pitched sounds off of objects and listening for the echoes.
  4. Dolphins must consciously swim to the surface to take a breath. This means they can never fully sleep.