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The Kisite-Shimoni
Important Marine Mammal Areas

Marine Mammal Diversity

Dugong Dugon, Megaptera Novaeangliae,
Sousa Plumbea, Stenella Longirostris, Tursiops Auncus

The Kisite-Shimoni IMMA is located in the coastal waters of southern Kenya adjacent to the Tanzania border. Within the IMMA is the Kisite-Mpunguti National Marine Park and Reserve. Long-term research in this area shows that there is a small resident population of Indo-Pacific bottlenose dolphin that are the regular target of dolphin watching tourism. The population shows a high degree of site fidelity and is reliant on the habitat within the area for both feeding and breeding. Indian Ocean humpback dolphins and spinner dolphins are also observed within the Kisite-Shimoni area. Finally, the habitat is used by humpback whales from IWC Breeding Stock C for both calving and nursing activities.

Qualifying Species and Criteria

Indo-Pacific bottlenose dolphin – Tursiops aduncus
Criterion B (i)
Indian Ocean humpback dolphin – Sousa plumbea
Criterion A; B (i)
Humpback whale – Megaptera novaeangliae
Criterion C (i)

Qualifying Criteria

  • Criterion A : Species or Population Vulnerability

    Sub-criterion Bi: Small and Resident Populations

    The Indian Ocean humpback dolphin is currently designated under the IUCN Red List as Endangered (Braulik et al., 2017a). There is a population of Indian Ocean humpback dolphins that occur within the waters of the area that is estimated to number approximately 100 individuals (Morley et al. 2011, Meyler et al. 2011).

  • Criterion B : Distribution and Abundance

    Sub-criterion Bi: Small and Resident Populations

    The near-shore waters of the Shimoni coast are home to resident Indo-Pacific bottlenose and humpback dolphins. Based on a robust dataset of 367 photo-identification sessions (137 individuals identified) collected over 551 dedicated vessel-based surveys (~13850km of survey effort) between January 2006 and December 2009, the population size of Indo-Pacific bottlenose dolphins was estimated as ranging from 19 individuals (95% CI: 11–33) to a maximum of 104 dolphins (95% CI: 78–139) with a mean of 62 dolphins estimated (SE: 6.66) (Pérez-Jorge et al. 2016). The individual recapture rate ranged from 1 to 75 with an average of 19 (SD: 19.76) recaptures along the study period 2006-2009. There was a very high degree of residence of individuals within the area and a low proportion of transient individuals in the population (Pérez-Jorge et al. 2016). Abundance estimates were roughly stable from 2006 to 2009 (Pérez-Jorge et al. 2016). Similarly, it is estimated that there are approximately 104 Indian Ocean humpback dolphins that utilize the area (Meyler et al. 2011).

  • Criterion C: Key Life Cycle Activities

    Sub-criterion Ci: Reproductive Areas

    Long-term photo-identification programs provides strong information on the importance of Kisite as a reproductive area for the Indo-Pacific bottlenose dolphin. From 2006 to 2012, a total of 182 individuals were identified around the Kisite-Mpunguti Marine Protected Area and surrounding waters, with at least 27 individuals identified as females, accounting for approximately 15% of the population (Pérez- Jorge, S, unpublished data; Kenya Marine Mammal Network Newsletter 3). This area is an important reproductive habitat for humpback whales, as it is used regularly every year for calving and nursing. During the period 2007-2012, 61 individuals were photo-identified passing through the study area of Kisite-Mpunguti MPA (Pérez-Jorge unpublished data, Kenya Marine Mammal Network Newsletter 3).

Kisite-Shimoni Facts

Size in Square Kilometers

- 726 km2

View Large Map