2 August 2008

Camera crews have captured the first ever footage of a rare species of dolphins, the Australian snubfin. The snubfins are a species that has only been known to scientists for three years.  

A group of researchers looking to the creatures off the Kimberley Coast in Western Australia stumbled upon dozens of dolphins on Sunday. The dolphins are also nicknamed “Snubbies” for their blunt dorsal fin and rounded snout.

Deb Thiele, Dolphin Researcher

“Over the last couple days we’ve had fantastic weather and feeding activity and the right tide so it’s some of the best sightings we’ve had up here.”

According to the research team, the sighting is the best yet as the dolphins were playful and poked their heads above water, as opposed to other sightings, where they tended to stay underwater. 

The Australian snubfin dolphin was discovered in 2005. Scientists are hoping that DNA samples taken from the animals will confirm they are the newest species or sub-species of dolphin. 

The snubfin dolphin is known as the world’s ugliest dolphin, however many who have seen the snubfin disagree. 

Tammie Matson, World Wildlife Fund Spokesperson

“It may be the world’s ugliest dolphin, some people have said that, but to those of us who have seen them, I am absolutely blown away by this creature, they are absolutely endearing.”

The discovery of a new mammal is extremely rare. Until recently the snubfin dolphin was thought to be an Irrawaddy dolphin.