Not many people can say that they have witnessed a dolphin being born.
Recently one of the tradies working in the Western Port Marina shared his father’s experience whilst sailing near Sandy Point in Western Port.
The sight of a dolphin behaving with jerking, rolling movements made him think it was entangled in rope or a net.
Then up popped a tiny dolphin – followed by what looked like afterbirth in the water.
He managed to capture some vision of the little calf with its mum. We have loaded it to Youtube HERE. It is very low resolution, but it will help by clicking on the “mini player” option on the bottom right of the play window.
Play it a couple of times and you will be able to see the tiny calf on the far side of the mother and the baby’s tail rapidly fluking.
It takes dolphin calves a while to swim gracefully. At first, their little tail seems to move ten times the rate of mums and they swim with jerky movements, their nose popping up out of the water and then plopping down. After some weeks they develop the smooth “porpoising” motion that we are used to seeing.
The dolphins were left as the vessel sailed off. It’s especially important to let dolphins alone when a new-born is present. In ordinary vessels you are not meant to deliberately approach dolphins closer than 100 metres. With a new-born present it is best to stay at the 300 metres caution zone.
What a remarkable experience!
Become part of our ‘i sea, i care’ COMMUNITIES Program by reporting your sightings of dolphins and whales to www.dolphinresearch.org.au
We need your support to continue our important work. Donate to our appeal here.
If you see a dolphin or whale in distress it’s best to observe as much as you can from a distance and call DELWP on 1300 136 017.
Note: Image of calf and mother was photographed in Port Phillip under a research permit from DELWP.