Animal Concerns Research and Education Society (ACRES) announced today that it has launched a study of wild dolphins in Singapore waters so as to be able to protect them in their natural habitat.

The study of the Indo-Pacific bottlenose dolphins and Indo-Pacific humpback dolphins will be conducted over 2 years and carried out in the Sister’s Island Marine Park and in the waters surrounding the Southern Islands. It aims to gather data on population numbers, distribution, home range, dolphin behaviours and the potential threats they face. The research permit for the study has been approved by NParks.

Dolphins in Singapore waters have not been studied in detail before, and ACRES’ dolphin researcher Isabelle Tan pointed out that not many Singaporeans know that there are dolphins in Singapore waters, although several sightings have been reported and shared on social media recently.

She said: “We hope that through this study, we can further increase awareness and understanding of these species. The data collected will also be vital in developing conservation strategies to protect these dolphins.”

Ms Tan is one of two full time ACRES researchers who will be conducting the survey. She has a degree in Zoology and Conservation Biology, while the other researcher, Ms Naomi Clark, has a Masters in Marine Biology.

Meanwhile, acknowledging that people “ultimately want to see dolphins”, ACRES said it is exploring setting up Singapore’s first wild dolphin-watching tours.

ACRES, which has launched an online fundraising campaign for the project, plans for the tours to see dolphins displaying natural behaviours in the wild, and “will follow strict ethical guidelines to ensure that the welfare of the wild dolphins is not compromised”, according to the statement.

Mr Louis Ng, Chief Executive of ACRES said: “We are confident that if people learn about and see dolphins living freely in the wild, they will never want to see them in captivity.”

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