Written by Valentin Neamtu, BSc Marine Vertebrate Biology, Stony Brooke University. Sea Watch Foundation Research Intern 2015.
The bottlenose dolphins of Cardigan Bay have had a recent boom in activity in recent months. One might even call it a “baby boom.” Yes, this last month has been a very eventful one for us here at the Sea Watch Foundation as we have seen half a dozen new born dolphins. Many “awwws” and squeals of cuteness have been going around every time one of these little newborns clumsily surfaces next to its mother.
While that is all well and good these newborn dolphins, thrown into the world like your shoes after a long day at work, are at a very important time in their life. They are like sponges and need to have positive role models in their lives. That is why it is our responsibility to become good role models for this next generation of Cardigan Bay dolphins. One of the ways in which to do this is to follow the marine code of conduct. Of particular importance is the part stating not to approach the dolphins erratically with your boat or try to touch and feed them. I know sometimes following rules is a bore and you just can’t be bothered, but think of the way you present yourself to a human baby and do so with dolphin babies as well. You want to be a good role model to these dolphins.
Mothers with newborns are especially wary of boats and generally tend to move away from them. The boats are very loud under the water and you can’t blame the mothers for not wanting their babies to go near them. Much how we keep our babies safe from possible dangers, the mother dolphins almost glues herself to the calf to keep it from harm’s way. The mother dolphin will choose who gets to associate with its newborn and will most likely choose a quiet boat to investigate instead of an annoying loud one. The newborns are very curious and inquisitive but shy and will probably want to check out your boat if it’s not loud and scary.
Oh but the great sights you get when they do is fantastic and worth it. It’s quite a sight to behold when a group of composed scientists break down at the sight of a newborn dolphin poking his head out of the water to breathe.
These newborn bottlenose dolphins are very important to the population and it is up to us to act as responsible adults when we encounter them. We have a great opportunity to be good role models for a whole generation of dolphins and we shouldn’t squander it.
Check out these baby bottlenose in underwater action here!
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