All dolphin photography taken under MMPA Permit #21938-03.
May not be used for commercial purposes.
Starting off the Field Season
We’ve had a great start to the 2022 field season! We’ve been able to be in the field for the past four days in a row with fantastic conditions. Within these last few days, we’ve been seeing plenty of newborn baby dolphins. Dolphins in this area are normally born anytime between late March and late May. We call a new baby dolphin a YOY, meaning Young Of the Year. You can spot a YOY from 3 different clues:
Because YOYs are small and slow, they’re especially vulnerable to threats such as predators or boats. In fact, it’s not unusual for us to observe YOYs and their mothers with fresh scars from shark attacks! This means that the babies are not only naturally slow and uncoordinated, but mothers recovering from shark attacks will also be travelling slower, possible fighting infections, and generally weaker. This can make them far more susceptible to injury or death by boat strike. Because of all these threats, up to 1 in 4 calves is sadly as risk of not making it to its first birthday.
In the last few days, we have also seen manatees forming active mating herds. During this activity, females are pursued by several males for hours or even days at a time. This behavior typically involves splashing and the manatees spending more time than usual at the surface. Sometimes the manatees will swim much faster than usual, with the males acting aggressively – this behavior may look concerning, but it is normal during mating. As a result, the manatees in these herds become very tired from maximizing their energy and typically aren’t paying attention to everything going on around them.
With everything we’ve seen the past few days we want to take this time to remind boaters to be extra careful on the water! Boating season is ramping up and everyone wants to be outside, but please keep in mind we share the waterways with animals that call them home. We sadly see too many animals with boat injuries.
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