So here we are near the end of August, we’ve had a great summer with lots of exciting encounters with the wonderful wildlife in our area. There are a group of bottle-nose dolphins that we see regularly and here is one from that group that was just cruising past the boat blowing bubbles at us!
Bottle nose dolphins are the dolphins we are most likely to see from the boat although we do see common dolphins which are smaller and form really large groups, they are usually found further offshore but will come into our area if there is good feeding for them to follow. The biggest dolphin is actually the orca, even though it is sometimes called a killer whale, it is a member of the dolphin family, pilot whales are also dolphins. Unlike ourselves, dolphins have to be conscious to decide when to breath. If they went into a deep sleep they would drown so what they do is only let one half of their brain sleep at a time. This way they get to rest but stay semi-conscious to continue to breath and look out for dangers.
In the wild dolphins can live for a long time, Orcas may live for 70 years and our bottle-nose dolphins can live for at least 40 years. Dolphins kept in captivity die much earlier than those living in the wild. Whales and dolphins are highly intelligent mammals who want and need to live in complex social groups. In captivity they will usually have been separated from their families often in cruel hunts when they were young. Wild whales and dolphins can swim up to 100 miles a day, hunting and playing, in captivity they have little space to behave normally. The stress that a captive whale or dolphin suffers can weaken their immune system and make them prone to disease leading to death at a younger age than in the wild.
We are lucky to be able to share sightings of cetaceans in a natural environment and would encourage everyone to campaign to stop keeping these intelligent creatures in captivity.
Davie Ainsley, Sealife Adventures