In Sado, there is a community of bottlenose dolphins, with about 28 elements. The bottlenose dolphin, with the scientific name of “Tursiops truncatus,” is relatively common along the coast of mainland Portugal, but the population that lives in the Sado estuary, its unique character within the national territory, and one of the few nuclei residents at European level.
These dolphins live in groups consisting of individuals of both sexes and all ages wandering the estuary and adjacent coastal area and is often seen in small or large groups during her travels in search of food.
The bottlenose dolphins have an average length of about 3 meters, almost black color gray dorsal area which stands out in a dorsal fin, which is the key element to identify each dolphin.
All existing bottlenose dolphins in the Sado estuary are properly identified (each with its name), thanks to the knowledge of shapes and dimensions of the dorsal fins of each of these elements, which enables monitoring the evolution of this population by the technical teams monitoring of the community.
Under normal conditions the bottlenose dolphins can live 40 to 50 years. Abnormal conditions such as pollution of the environment or the occurrence of illegal fishing can jeopardize the survival and longevity of these animals and can cause early disappearance individuals of the population, as was the case occurred in the estuary for several years, which led to a drastic reduction in the number of elements of the population.
Today there is great interest in the general population and children in particular by cetaceans, and to highlight the high level of demand for activities related to the observation of dolphins in the Sado estuary, which has occurred over the last years.