The PIDU project methods are designed to assist with achieving the project objectives. Methods have consisted of community workshops and discussions, boat-based surveys, photo-identification, specimen collection and scholarship program.
Community Workshops and Discussions
2013 was the first year that the PIDU project conducted boat-based surveys throughout the Kikori Delta. These surveys were conducted in collaboration with WWF-PNG, where workshops and discussions with communities were conducted in parallel with boat surveys. A large workshop was held at Verabari to inform local communities about the project and smaller meetings and discussions were held whenever possible to gain permission to survey through the delta, and provide information to communities about the dolphins.
Boat-based surveys were undertaken throughout the Kikori Delta in 2013 and 2015. A live-aboard vessel was used for these surveys in combination with smaller aluminium dingies. Boat-based surveys aimed to investigate:
- where dolphins occurred in the Delta, and
- which species could be found.
During boat-based surveys dolphin groups were photographed to confirm species and attempt to estimate the population size. Many dolphin fins are unique – just like a human face – so it’s possible to identify individual dolphins and track them over time.
During surveys, interviews were conducted with local villagers and fishers by PNG Nationals to:
• inform local communities about the PIDU project
• investigate what dolphin species occur in the Kikori Delta region
• investigate whether dugong can be found in the Kikori Delta region
• investigate important dolphin areas
• understand threatening processes facing marine fauna
• attempt to find existing skeletal material
Collection of Skeletal Material
Dolphin skeletal material and carcass recovery can provide information on what species use the region, the taxonomic status of the population and an estimate on mortality rates and causes. Many dolphin skulls were donated by Kikori community members to the PNG National Museum and Art Gallery for further study.