ABS 2022
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The behavioral ecology of inshore bottlenose dolphin in a tropical fiord in Southwestern Costa Rica
Juan Diego Pacheco-Polanco, David Herra-Miranda, Lenin Enrique Oviedo Correa. Laboratorio de Ecología de Mamíferos Marinos Tropicales, Centro de Investigación de Cetáceos de Costa Rica CEIC, Rincon de Osa, Puntarenas, Costa Rica

The inshore bottlenose dolphin in Golfo Dulce (GD), a fiord-like embayment in southwestern Costa Rica, has been widely documented during the last sixteen years (2005–2021: 476 boat-surveys: 44513 km). Here, we review and update current knowledge on the a) distribution, behavior, and habitat-use; b) population-size, demography, and reproductive parameters; and c) anthropogenic impacts affecting the management and conservation of this species. In GD, bottlenose dolphins are sympatric with pantropical spotted dolphins. The most recent photoidentification effort (2011–2021) accounts for 105 photo-identified individuals and has yielded important insights in apparent survival (S=0.90, 95% CI: 0.85–0.92). The latest population size estimate (< 120 dolphins) corresponds with a small, localized population, associated with a random pattern of temporal emigration indicating no seasonal influence. The year-round residential females in GD have produced 24 calves since 2011 with an estimated inter-birth interval of 3.4 years (95% CI: 2.984, 3.816). We discuss several conservation implications, including the need to consider stock assessment within national and regional management schemes.