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In 2022, we discovered evidence of a third generation of common dolphins in Port Phillip after a small handful of these normally oceanic animals first arrived in the bay in 2005.

We are extremely excited to announce that after four vessel surveys and hours of investigative work, we can confirm two new additions to ‘Gen-3’, bringing the total number of calves in this third generation to what we believe to be six!

Meet ‘Tas’ and ‘Faith’ -the newest calves of dolphin #41 and Marinna.

‘Tas’ – dolphin #41’s calf.

‘Faith’ -Marinna’s new calf.

When we first saw the two new calves on our vessel survey in March, they appeared to be less than one month old- determined from their small size and the presence of faint stripes on the side of their bodies, called fetal folds.

Both calves represent an exceptional success story, particularly Faith, who is the calf of Marinna.

Our research team’s detective work has tracked Marinna since she was a young calf in 2012. She is the calf of Jean -one of the original common dolphins in the bay.

Marinna as a calf with mum, Jean (2012).

We have known Jean since 2007 and she forms part of the first generation, with Marinna being part of the second.

In 2016, Marinna was severely injured. Without having witnessed the incident, we’re unsure as to whether the injury was caused by human impact or by a predator. Miraculously, Marinna survived her injury and we continued to monitor her progress during our surveys.

Marinna’s injury in 2016.

Marinna gave birth to her first calf in 2021 and now in 2023, she has given birth to her second calf -aptly named ‘Faith’.

Marinna’s ability to survive and produce calves represents her remarkable resilience following her life-threatening injury. This survivorship also provides an insight into the health of the marine environment in Port Phillip.

Marinna with her new calf, Faith (March 2023).

Healthy ecosystems not only enable our dolphins to successfully recover from injury and illness, but they also provide the food and shelter required to support this unique community of common dolphins.

The birth and survival of new calves indicates that Port Phillip is likely to be a healthy ecosystem capable of supporting a growing community of apex predators. We’re sure it won’t be long till more and more calves are born into Gen-3.

A true success story indeed!