Thursday, December 22, 2011

The Dolphins of Monkey Mia

This last week I have had a bit of time off due to the strong winds.  In the mornings I have been volunteering with the Monkey Mia Resort at their Dolphin feedings.  They feed 5 dolphins Nicky, Surprise, Puck, Piccolo and Shock.  Nicky has been coming to feeds since the 70's.  The feeding of "wild" dolphins is not really something I would normally condone but the regulation of it has gotten much better in recent years.  We do not want to domesticate these animals.

In the past when feeding was unregulated and people could feed the dolphins all day long as much as they wanted there were many complications.  When those dolphins would have calfs they would neglect their own offspring.  The calfs would never learn proper social behaviors and when they were old enough to leave their mothers they were often unable to form the necessary bonds with others and would often die from stress, starvation or predation.  In effect while the feedings have been going on the dolphins involved have not had successful reproduction.

More recently the Department of Environment and Conservation in Australia has taken control.  They have limited the amount of fish each dolphin gets per day in order to encourage them to move offshore and interact as they would naturally.  The effect has been just that.  Several of the regulars have now had calves and I must say that baby dolphins is pretty damn cute.

(Fanny Vessaz)

(Fanny Vessaz)

(Fanny Vessaz)

Adriana with some lucky and very happy little kids. (Fanny Vessaz)

Dolphin Volunteers (Fanny Vessaz)