Pollution is another threat to snubfin dolphins, as the water discharge from rivers in the dolphinsâ Australian range are contaminated by industrial and agricultural runoff. The snubfin dolphinsâ strong site fidelity means they are likely exposed to pollutants on a daily basis. Indeed, one study of snubfins on the Great Barrier Reef found levels of polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) far exceeding the thresholds for small cetaceans, over which reproductive anomalies and immunosuppression can occur. Periodic floods present a temporary threat to snubfin dolphins in that they result in an increase in freshwater discharge, heavy metals, nutrients, sediment and pesticides in coastal areas. Increases in floods, cyclone severity, storm surges and sea surface temperatures due to climate change will likely also affect the habitat and future food supply of snubfin dolphins. As a result of the cumulative effects of drowning as bycatch and habitat loss and degradation, the Australian snubfin dolphin population is believed to be decreasing and is likely to meet the criteria for IUCN's âendangeredâ status in the near future.
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