Give dolphins space
A dolphin baby boom in Koombana Bay has led to a rush of people trying to get a glimpse of the cute arrivals and putting them at risk.
But water users in the Bunbury region are being urged to steer clear of the newborn dolphins and their mums while they are in a vulnerable state.
Dolphin breeding season is between February and March each year and this year five calves have already been born.
Dolphin Discovery Centre conservation manager Jan Tierney said there had already been a couple of incidents this season of boats chasing dolphins and calves and even people doing “bombies” into pods of dolphins.
“Calves are very vulnerable, especially for the first few months,” Mrs Tierney said. “We need people to give them space to thrive.
“Dolphins need to eat 8-14kg of food a day to survive and produce milk for their babies, so we need to allow them space to do that.”
Mrs Tierney said water-based clubs in the bay were aware of the requirements and adhered to the rules about staying away.
Koombana Bay Sailing Club commodore Stuart Thompson said dolphins were precious to the region.
“We are conscious of our environmental impact, including tossing rubbish overboard,” he said.
“Staying away from dolphins is crystal clear to us.”
Mr Thompson said in the history of the club, there had never been an incident of members interfering with dolphins.
He said because members’ boats moved quickly but took time to turn, it was understood by members to just steer clear of dolphins all together.
“We have to look after them, dolphins are an essential part of what Bunbury is all about,” he said.
Mrs Tierney said while dolphins in the region were used to people and boats, it was important to stay away from them in the water.
“If the dolphins come up to you, whether it’s a boat or jetski or just you in the water, stay stationary and don’t follow after or touch them,” she said.
There are four dolphin mums, Calypso, Koomba, Eaton and Aritaki, with their babies in the Bunbury bay and one mum and her baby at Peppermint Grove Beach.
Mrs Tierney said there were still a few more births expected during the season.
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