Bay is Bottlenose dolphin capital

2016-04-20 06:00
A pod of Bottlenose dolphins near the Shark Rock pier in Hobie Beach. Photo: LLOYD EDWARDS

A pod of Bottlenose dolphins near the Shark Rock pier in Hobie Beach. Photo: LLOYD EDWARDS

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APRIL marks the official launch of Algoa Bay as the Bottlenose dolphin capital of the world.

Lloyd Edwards, chairperson of the Baywatch Marine Conservation Project and owner of Raggy Charters, who has been monitoring dolphin pods for almost two decades, confirmed that the Bay hosts the largest schools of Indo-Pacific Bottlenose dolphins on the planet.

Edwards added that on 90% of their marine cruises, they have seen pods of 50 to 400 individuals.

“We have spotted Bottlenose dolphins for the past 28 cruises in a row, which is a new record. We’re hoping to reach 30 cruises.”

He added that the most recent up-to-date study by marine biologists at Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University (NMMU), shows that roughly 30 000 bottlenose dolphins make use of Algoa Bay.

Edwards attended the World Whale Conference in the Azores Islands held during October 2015.

The delegates to the conference consisted of whale and dolphin watching operators, cetacean scientists and marine non-government organisations from around the globe. When he gave his presentations at the conference, all of the more than 200 delegates were amazed to see the size of the Bottlenose dolphin schools frequently spotted in the Bay as nowhere else in the world are such large schools seen.

Edwards said that he asked delegates for support for launching Algoa Bay as the Bottlenose dolphin capital of the world and the response was overwhelmingly positive.

He mentioned that Bottlenose dolphins are one of the most charismatic dolphins in the world and people from all over the world show a great interest in marine cruises where they get a chance to view marine life in their natural habitat. However, the support is not the same from the locals.

“We find that the support from the locals is not the same even though we offer a 30% discount,” Edwards said.

Continued on page 4

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