Indo-pacific Hump-backed Dolphin

(Sousa chinensis)


Indo-pacific Hump-backed Dolphin IUCN CRITICALLY ENDANGERED (CR)


Facts about this animal

The Indo-pacific Hump-backed Dolphin has a maximum length of 2.8 m and a weight of about 285 kg. It has a robust body with a sloping forehead and a long slender beak. The colour varies greatly, but is basically grey. The ventral parts and the lower jaw are often cream-coloured. Adults from west of Indonesia have a hump upon which a small triangular or falcate dorsal fin is found. Individuals originating from east of Indonesia lack this ridge.

Did you know?
that along the coast of Kwazulu-Natal, South Africa, humpback dolphins die in the shark nets at what is deemed an unsustainable rate? Shark nets set to protect bathers and surfers incidentally kill marine mammals of more than 50 species.


Name (Scientific) Sousa chinensis
Name (English) Indo-pacific Hump-backed Dolphin
Name (French) Dauphin blanc de Chine
Name (German) Chinesischer Weisser Delfin
Name (Spanish) DelfĂ­n blanco de China
Local names Afrikaans: Boggelrugdolfyn
CITES Status Appendix I
CMS Status Appendix II



Photo Copyright by
Don Hadden



Range Coastal waters from warm waters of eastern South Africa to Indonesia and southern China
Habitat Coastal waters
Wild population Unknown, but decreasing (Red List IUCN 2011)
Zoo population None reported to ISIS

In the Zoo

Indo-pacific Hump-backed Dolphin


How this animal should be transported

For air transport, Container Note 55 of the IATA Live Animals Regulations should be followed.


Find this animal on ZooLex


Photo Copyright by
Don Hadden

Why do zoos keep this animal

Cetacean Sensation—The Value of Whales and Dolphins at Zoological Parks


Marine life parks have learned a great deal about whales and dolphins from ongoing research programmes. In the protected environment of a marine life park, scientists can examine aspects of cetacean biology that are difficult or impossible to study in the wild. Breeding and cutting edge artificial insemination programmes have dramatically increased our understanding of cetacean reproduction. Such studies may one day help to conserve species facing extinction such as Amazon River dolphins.


But that’s only part of the story. Through educational programmes and guest visitation, millions of children and adults have been given the rare opportunity to experience whales and dolphins in a unique way. There is an old African saying that goes "You will love with your heart what you see with your eyes." Marine life parks educate millions of people every year on the threats whales and dolphins face. Through zoological facilities, visitors have a chance to see, touch and view whales and dolphins. This connection bonds humans to these animals and inspires stewardship far more than simply seeing them in a book or on TV.


Of course the hump-backed dolphin is also an excellent ambassador for its ecosystem and may serve as a flagship species for awareness campaigns dealing with threats to the marine environment such as Deadline - Das Meer will leben !), a joint effort of YaquPacha and WAZA.