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March 27, 2009

Dolphins in False Bay waters

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It is on a rather sad note that I write about the dolphins in False Bay.

On Monday March 23, 2009, it was reported at our office that a dolphin had stranded itself just off Sunrise Beach, Muizenberg. I immediately ran to my car to get to the spot. I was hoping that something could still be done for this dolphin as I love these magnificent creatures.

While I was on my way there, the office was on the phone with Marine and Coastal Management to inform them about the stranded dolphin. They contacted me to find out if I could check if the dolphin was still alive. Unfortunately, it died just before I arrived. Marine and Coastal Management asked us to remove the dolphin from the water and wait for them to collect it.

I asked what could have caused the dolphin to die as it looked young and bore no signs of being attacked. I was told that it could have plastic wrapped in its intestines, as is most often the case. Dolphins mistake floating plastic for jellyfish and eat it, and then they suffer and eventually strand themselves and die. This is another reason why we should conserve our wonderful natural heritage and make sure that the environment is cared for.

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Although you don’t see dolphins as much as you would on the east coast of South Africa, they do visit the waters off the coast of our beautiful city.

Pod sizes vary from 10 to 100 dolphins or more. I am lucky enough to have seen a pod of about 10 as well as two pods of between 50 and 100 on separate occasions. I have also been informed that dolphins can be spotted on deep sea fishing trips and whale boat trips. It is sad that the closest I have ever got to a dolphin has been one that has died.

So who knows – when next you are down in the south and along the False Bay coast you might get to see some dolphins as well as our beautiful scenery – not to forget whales during whale season, which is around the corner.

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