Being a part of GVI’s marine research has been an amazing experience. Every morning we head out on the research dhow in search of dolphins and other mega fauna that inhabit the area of Kisite-Mpunguti Marine Protected Area. Most days we are able to track and follow the Indo-pacific Bottlenose dolphins, studying their behavior, reaction to the tourist dhow, population dynamics, and their travel patterns. On this day in particular as were on our way to the KMMPA we caught sight of a pod of about 20 bottlenose dolphins. This pod was composed of mostly adults with a few juveniles swimming and playing amongst them. Then we caught sight of a newborn.
|The newborn Bottlenose dolphin spotted this week|
Seeing a newborn bottlenose dolphin for the first time was a spectacular sight as the gestation period for a mother is around 12 months and this newborn couldn’t have been much more than a few days old. It was only around a meter in length. It was also very well protected by both the mother and the rest of the pod; staying on the opposite side of the mother from the boat and in the middle of the pod. The newborn stayed very close to the mother swimming in the mothers ‘slip stream’ which is the wake that develops as the mother swims. This allows the newborn to swim and keep up with the group.
It will be great to find out if this pod of dolphins sticks around in the KMMPA or if they were just travelling through the area on their way elsewhere. Only time will tell.