The Peale's Dolphin is a robust and large dolphin. Measuring
approximately 2m, its dorse and flippers, fluke and dorsal
fins are of a dark gray colour, as well as its head, lips
and throat. It is a coastal dweller, entering bays and canals
and is often found between kelp beds.
Since 1992 a research project on the Peale's Dolphin has
been in process in Cabo Vírgenes (at the eastern mouth
of the Strait of Magellan (Santa Cruz Province). This project's
objectives are the study of the dolphin's biology, ecology
and conservation. To that end, behavior, position and distribution
patterns of different groups of animals are being registered,
and the interaction with other species is also being studied.
In addition, periodic aerial census surveys are conducted,
and the animals are photographed for identification of distinct
In the area where Peale's Dolphin are studied, the dolphins
travel individually or in small groups when the food source
is scarce and/or disperse. When food availability increases,
the number of individuals per group increases, enabling more
These dolphins are often observed performing leaps with a
high amount of activity at the surface of the water. They
interact with other species, such as the Commerson's Dolphin,
Southern Right Whale and Great Grebe, Magellanic Penguin,
Rock Cormorant bird, Kelp Gull and Southern Sea Lion.
The main threat to the Peale's Dolphin was previously their
hunting for use as bait for King Crab and False King Crab.
Currently, the greatest dangers for this species are accidental
captures in the gill nets of Patagonian blennie (robalo),
hake and Silverside (pejerrey) fishferman in the Santa Cruz
and Tierra del Fuego Provinces; and also the overexploitation
of fisheries and the increasing oil drilling activity in the
Research projects related to this dolphin are complemented
by a study of the potential impact of the petroleum activity,
and the development of activities related to environmental
education, assessment and diffusion.
These project have support from the Dirección de Fauna,
Prefectura Naval Argentina, Servicio de Hidrografía
Naval, Armada Agentina, Universidad Nacional de la Patagonia
Austral and Dirección de Turismo de Río Gallegos.
These organizations strive to improve the environmental conditions
of the region and as such, contribute to the conservation
of this species.