Feeding dolphins is out of bounds
You may be surprised that we are writing about this subject. But this year, we have been asked quit a few times if we feed dolphins, like other companies do in some countries (for example Turkey).
Lobosonda understand itself as a professional Whale Watching company. A respectful and soft encounter with cetaceans is a matter of course for us! To feed dolphins would be against our philosophy. We want to observe whales and dolphins in their natural behavior. We do not wish to turn them into clowns.
Companies, who are feeding dolphins, have a huge impact on nature. This is all about money and exclusively done because of profits. By doing so, they want to guarantee a sighting. These companies do not care about the well-being of these amazing animals.
For dolphins, chasing prey implies much more than simply ingestion. Exercise, skills, agility and social interaction are highly important for theses agile and intelligent animals. Adult dolphins show their offspring how to prey and which of it is indigestive. Dolphins which are getting fish from human hand might neglect their natural drive to hunt. This turns them into a habit- forming behavior. Dolphins, which lost their ability to hunt, might get undernourished. For these devitalized animals there is a hight risk of starving to death. So this kind of dependence on humans can jeopardise the population.
Dolphins normally feed on living prey. But they can be opportunistic as well, using the chance of getting “free” food. Humans might enjoy this contact, but it can cause the dead of these animals. By habituation there might be a potential risk that dolphins are getting too trustingly. Their immune system is not specialized to deal with human germs and viruses. There is a high risk of germ transmission for the animals during feeding. Germ transmission denotes another hazard for the population.
If dolphins are getting used to hand- feeding and the food source stops, aggressive behavior can be the result. After all there is no guarantee how animals are reacting when they wait for food which is not provided.
If you know a company using this practice or if you observe such an activity during your trip, please express your resentment immediately and inform local public authorities (police, tourist information) Do not book a trip with such companies!!!
By Fatima Kutzschbach