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"Everyone Loves a Dolphin"
|By: LeRoy French
5 September 2008
Over the years numerous articles have been written about the
Bottlenose Dolphin. This is the environment's one animal that is constantly
being exploited. The Japanese kill hundreds of these animals every
year. Many Dolphins are held in captivaty for various Dolphin encounter
My article today is to educate everyone on just what a Dolphin is and also
my first hand encounters with these amazing mammals.
The Dolphin is believed to be the most intelligent animal on Earrth. Their
worldwide population is around 250,000. In Japan the population is the
lowest, about 35,000.
The Dolphin's life span is from 30 to 50 years. They are very playful,
social animals with a carefree nature. They usually hunt in groups and in
many areas especially in Hilton Head, South Carolina they will actually
herd fish right up on shore so they can catch them. They are found in both
Pacific and Atlantic Oceans and usually weigh between 440 to 600
pounds with an average length of around 10 feet.. They will eat between
13 and 33 pounds of food per day. They feed mostly on fish and squid.
The Bottlenose Dolphin is mainly named after the shape of its beak-like
snout. Its nose however is the blowhole on the top of its head. The
Dolphin locates food by what is known as echolocation or a type of sonar.
They actually locate objects by producing sounds and listening for the
echo. To hear the returning echo they have two small ear openings
behind the eyes, but most sound waves are transmitted to the inner ear
through the lower jaw. This is truly an amazing feature. The Dolphin also
has excellent vision both underwater and in air.
We have heard of many stories regarding the friendly behavior of
Dolphins and probably the most famous is the following: "In November
2004, a more dramatic report of dolphin intervention came from New
Zealand. Four lifeguards, swimming 100m off the coast near Whangarei,
were reportedly approached by a 3m Great White Shark. A group of
Bottlenose Dolphins, apparently sensing danger to the swimmers,
herded them together and tightly surrounded them for forty minutes,
preventing an attack from the shark, as they returned to shore. "
I have had many up close and personal experiences with Dolphins but
probably the most memorble happened here in St. Maarten. We were
anchored over 'French Reef', about a mile offshore. I was not feeling well
that day so I was doing 'boat watch' while the group of divers where
enjoying themselves underwater. I was sitting in one of the chairs with my
back to the water when I heard this splashing behind me. I thought it was
probably one of the divers so I turned around to look and here are two
Bottlenose Dolphins right next to the ladder looking at me. They started
jumping out of the water and beckoning me to come in and play with
them, unfortunately I wasn't able to, so the Dolphins went and joined the
divers who then spent over one hour playing with them. When we finally
had to leave, the Dolphins followed our boat all the way back to Pelican
In this day and age few people disagree with the fact that this wonderful
animal should be protected. They are not meant for captivity or cruel
treatment. If you can witness first hand the way these animals survive in
the wild like I have you will agree with me.
My final story for today again comes from New Zealand. "On Mahia
Beach, New Zealand, March 10, 2008 two pygmy Sperm Whalesfemale
and calf-becarne stranded on the beach. Rescuers, including
Department of Conservation officer Malcolm Smith, attempted to refloat
the whales, however their efforts failed four times. Shortly before the
whales were to be euthanized a playful Bottlenose Dolphin known to
local residents as Moko arrived and, after seemingly communicating with
the whales, led them 200 meters along a sandbar to the open sea."
Our environment and eco system is so important....it needs our top
Next week we will discuss the most ferocious predator in the sea, The
Great White Shark and how important he is to the oceans eco system!