DOLPHIN DIARY NOVEMBER 2016
We had some great news during November. It appears that Bella is finally free from his entanglement. Volunteers Lyn Townsend and Jenni Wyrsta saw Bella at Garden Island on November 20th. They captured some great photos of his tail which do not show the fishing line.
Bella was first noticed with the entanglement on the 18th February 2016. Rescue attempts were organised by the Adelaide Dolphin Sanctuary Rangers but due to the difficulty in locating Bella and because he was often with at least three other dolphins it made catching him to remove the line incredibly dangerous and difficult. Over the months we observed Bella tail slapping a number of times trying to free himself from the line.
Fishing line can cause serious injury and even death to dolphins and other marine life. You can see how the line has cut into his flukes causing large lumps on either side. We are relieved to see that Bella is finally free, behaving normally and spending time with his friends Zoom, Morgan, Josh and Ripple.
It is really important that people dispose of rubbish and fishing line properly so entanglements like this do not continue to happen.
Speed Boat Races
Concerns about dolphin safety during the speed boat races were raised again during November.
The North Arm is an area of the Port River where the dolphins regularly spend time fishing and playing. We often see the dolphins including mothers with their calves swimming up and down the North Arm as they travel between Garden Island / Barker Inlet and the main river.
The North Arm is also where the Adelaide Speed Boat Club is located and where they hold speed boat races. Dolphin volunteers have noticed that the Speed Boat Clubs “Marine Mammal Spotters” are not continually observing for Dolphins approaching while the races are being held.
The shallow conditions, the number of boats, the speed and the change in directions as the boats circle around the cones could make it very confusing and difficult for the dolphins to determine a safe place to surface for a breath and to dive to try and avoid the boats.
Dolphin volunteers Sharon Sharp and Jenni Wyrsta have spent a lot of their spare time looking out for the dolphins during the races. Jenni captured the below photo last year which clearly shows how dangerous this is for not only the dolphins but the speed boat operator as well. The speed boat operator was unaware that the dolphins were nearby. There were at least 4 dolphins in this group including a mother and her calf.
My understanding is that the speed and the number of boats has increased over the years increasing the threat to the dolphins. In the past the Speed Boat club has been very cooperative in helping to look out for the dolphins safety. At this stage we are not aware of an incident where one of their speed boats has hit a dolphin but we certainly don’t want to wait for this to happen for something to be done to help fix the situation.
As mentioned in the October Dolphin Diary we are very excited that Sparkle has had a new calf (Ruby). We were really lucky to see Ruby and spend some time with the little one in early November. It was swimming incredibly well but we did notice that it has a deformed tail stock (the area between the dorsal fin and the flukes). Ruby may also have a lump/growth on her right pectoral fin. The good news is that while watching Ruby, her behaviour seemed normal and we were really surprised to see the little one leap out of the water. Sparkle does not spend as much time in areas we can observe her from the land anymore but we will do our best to keep an eye on them.
Some of the Dolphins we have seen over the last month include Rob Roy, Ryan, Lunar, Ollie, Josh, Morgan, Zoom, Bella, Crystal, Tallula, Hope, Bianca, Doc, Marianna, Mouse, Hunter, Bubbles, Tiffany, Summer, Lartelare, June, Star, Twinkle, Sparkle and Ruby.
Below are links to a slideshow of photos taken throughout the Port during November.
The Next Dolphin Diary will be at the beginning of January.
Wishing you all a safe and Happy Christmas and a wonderful start to 2017.
This article was written by Marianna