This year saw the birth of two new bottlenose dolphin calves within the resident pod in the Sado Estuary.
The first calf was born in August and the second in October, but the national Institute for Nature and Forest Conservation, which monitors the pod, only chose to divulge the births now as a means of protecting the babies.
Their names will now be chosen by children from a local primary school following a decision made by the Sado Estuary Nature Reserve’s Strategic Committee.
The new births now take the total Sado population to 29 animals.
Unique to the Sado estuary, the Sado Roaz pod is Portugal’s only resident dolphin community.
After the 1980’s and 1990’s the number of dolphins in the estuary dropped dramatically to around 22 individuals in 2005.
The recent increase in numbers may be related to the fact fewer of the mammals migrate to other locations, while on the other hand, the success in reproduction in this group is high, with a survival rate for calves of over 80 percent.
Between 1998 and 2005, 14 births were registered but only three remained with the
population. Between 2005 and 2011, 11 calves were born of which 9 survived.