There is something magical about spotting a dolphin in the wild, their playful behaviour as they burst from the water and dart amongst waves invigorate the free spirit inside me.
Which is why I feel so passionately about enjoying these beautiful creatures in their natural habitat, and not behind the glass of a tank or enclosure.
I realise aquariums and places like Sea World have a certain responsibility to rehabilitate and preserve aquatic wildlife, however it can often go so wrong. Nothing breaks my heart more than seeing animals in captivity, performing and being used for the soul purpose of “entertainment”.
While spotting dolphins from the shoreline or playing in the bow of a boat is always possible, there are also other ways to have an up close and personal experience in an ethical and educational way.
On the bay side of Moreton Island, just a 75-min ferry ride from Brisbane is Tangalooma Island Resort. Here you will find Tangalooma’s wild dolphin feeding program, where a Dolphin Care Team, consisting of Eco Rangers and dedicated staff, run the program which operates to strict guidelines to ensure the protection of the dolphins.
While it does operate daily at sunset, this is always at the dolphin’s discretion. If they don’t show up, they don’t show up. It is never a forced or controlled program. It is quite normal for any one of them to be absent from the feed on consecutive nights and this is not something to be worried about – they are probably having too much fun out in Moreton Bay.
To ensure the dolphins maintain their natural instincts and independence, Tangalooma only feed each of the dolphins between 10 to 20 percent of their daily food requirement. This ensures they also hunt for themselves and can survive on their own.
Herring are fed to the dolphins as they are a species that is commonly found in the Bay. The dolphins prefer herring due to their high fat and minimal bone content which make them easier to digest.
Ever since early 1980’s, when the dolphins would come to the famous resort jetty, people have been enjoying this organic interaction with them. Strangely enough, I feel the dolphins enjoy the interaction with us just as much. The dolphins that visit Tangalooma are actually part of two tight-knit family groups. In total, there are currently 13 dolphins visiting Tangalooma.
The actual interaction by guests is not only educational but an ethical way to get up close and personal with dolphins. Time with them is limited and in no way are you able to touch the dolphins. Flash photography is also banned to ensure the comfort for the animals.
The experience is only available for guests who have booked in, so not anyone can waltz on up and give it a go themselves. Tangalooma Island Resort often run special deals. For more visit www.tangalooma.com
Would you prefer to experience dolphins in the wild as appose to an aquarium?
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