A short article from The Copenhagen Post Online caught my eye. It doesn’t say much, the main point is:
A dead dolphin was found on Grenen at Skagen, the northernmost point in Denmark. Dolphins are a rare guest in the Danish waters.
Dolphins? Rare? In Denmark? Isn’t this the country that got us all up in arms a few years ago when it emerged that they were in the habit of mass killing dolphins for food or sport (attribute a motive according to your own view on the matter) on a regular basis?
Well, a few minutes research showed me that the controversy had been in the Faroe Islands, a territory of Denmark 1000km away from the mainland in the North Atlantic Ocean. Apparently there are no shortage of dolphins there.
In the waters off Jutland on the Danish mainland, however, things are apparently quite different. However, I’m not sure that dolphins are quite as rare in that area as the article suggests. The Handbook of Marine Mammals , for example,has this to say about White-beaked dolphins:
White-beaked dolphins are common in the northern and central North Sea and in the Skagerrak between Jutland (Denmark) and Norway (Kinze et al., 1987, 1997).
Porpoises are certainly common in Danish waters. There is even an organisation, Fjord & Belt, who keep four in captivity and appear to offer open sea trips to view them.
Another story from the BBC, this time looking at tourism in Scotland. It is interesting to me because many of our family live in and around Aberdeen and I must confess I hadn’t considered that dolphins might be a big drawcard in that area – even in the middle of summer I would hesitate to go in the sea there. However, it appears that at least 17000 people disagree with me:
Aberdeen University researchers examined what impact bottlenose dolphins off the country’s east coast had on the tourism sector. They found dolphin-watching was a major reason behind 52,200 overnight trips to the area. A total of 17,100 people said that seeing the creatures was the main reason for their trip.
The BBC have an article about Bottlenose and Guyana dolphins communicating with each other:
Bottlenose and Guyana dolphins, two distantly related species, often come together to socialise in waters off the coast of Costa Rica. Both species make unique sounds, but when they gather, they change the way they communicate, and begin using an intermediate language.
If they are anything like me, they will achieve this by continuing to speak English (or Bottlenose or Guyana) but slower and louder, perhaps adding a “ee” sound to every fourth or fifth word.
But all is not sweetness and light in the dolphin world. According to the article:
But often, the two species swim together in one group. These interactions are usually antagonistic, as the larger bottlenose dolphins harass the smaller Guyana dolphins.
The researcher quoted in the article, Dr Laura May-Collado of the University of Puerto Rico in San Juan goes on to speculate:
It is also unclear whether the two species are simply learning to communicate using a common language, or whether the Guyana dolphins alone are making the new sounds due to stress. It could even be that the Guyana dolphins are attempting “to emit threatening sounds in the language of the intruder”, in a bid to make the bottlenose dolphins desist, Dr May-Collado says.
Those of you of a more technical bent can find out more from the journal Ethology.
Here’s a YouTube video that caught my eye. Dolphins playing in the wake of boats are a common, uplifting, sight. They always seem so graceful. Well, almost always. In this video a couple of dolphins don’t quite coordinate their jumps. One, at least, ends up with a sore snout.
Thanks to YouTube user “jazaret” for uploading this video which was taken off the coast of Sanibel Island, Florida
I guess I am like most people around the world – I consider dolphins an interesting, cheerful looking species. Fascinating, yes, but not so much that I would be inspired to go out and start a blog about them.
But, guess what? I have a 12 year old daughter and she is absolutely mad about dolphins. She knows more about dolphins than I do about hot dinners, if you will pardon the mixed metaphor. However there hasn’t been one single place on the web that she has found to go and get more information, no obvious blog that pulls together dolphin related news and trivia. So, because I love my daughter, I have decided to create such a blog just for her. If you aren’t my daughter, well, welcome anyway. I hope you enjoy the ride.
Now this is my first attempt at creating a blog. I can’t guarantee that I’ll post much or that what I do write will be interesting but I’ll give it a go. I read somewhere that most blogs don’t last a week before they become inactive. Let’s see how I get on.