Assessment of population trend and risk of extinction, essential for informed conservation, needs baselines including percentage of population decline, extent of occurrence, population size, population structure and probabilities of extinction. Construction of these baselines usually claims long-term census efforts that are often insufficient or even lacking for many cetaceans, especially for those nearby rapidly developing countries. Restricted to variation from current census techniques, however, the approach based on long-term census database is unlikely to detect early or recent
sign of population decline. Here, I propose an integrative perspective, the systematic demographic analysis, to solve life history and demographic parameters essential for status and risk assessment for the cetacean populations. Transect technique with the aid of GPS records and environmental characteristics can be used to estimate population abundance and figure the extent of occurrence and critical habitat, information essential for sound habitat protection. Capture-
mark-recapture technique based on the database from individual photo-ID histories can be used to estimate population size, apparent survival rate and life history parameters. Collections of stranded and by caught carcasses can be used to solve life history parameters, age-specific survivorships or mortality rates and population genetic diversity indirectly relating to population size. Applications of population viability analysis to above parameters such as VORTEX model or other individual-based stage/age matrix model that factors the stochasticity and uncertainty can be used to solve the likely range of rate of decline and extinction risk of threatened population. Finally, I emphasize the need to integrate the histories of long-term land use and landscape change when formulating habitat management programme for the rare and/or endangered populations to avoid skipping the low-sighting habitat from intense anthropogenic impacts.
Last date updated on June, 2014