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Crazy about Bottlenose Dolphins "Read entire blog"
I started studying bottlenose dolphins in 1989 in Monterey Bay and since then I had the good fortune of observing them in many locations around the world. This species is found far and wide in all seas of the world, and there are generally a coastal form and an offshore form everywhere they have been studied. These two forms are genetically distinct. What is fascinating about bottlenose dolphins is the fact that their social structure is very diverse. They are definitely cultural animals and these cultures make them act just the same way as a tribal people would. They generally do not mix with other 'tribes' and they have their own fishing traditions, their social customs and their favourite areas.
What is surprising is how little we know about bottlenose dolphins in Hawaiian waters. We do know that the island-associated populations seem to be very faithful to a specific island or set of islands and that there is little interchange between islands. But we do not know much about the details of their habits in Hawaii. Where they go, who they socialize with, how they make a living day to day, etc..
To unlock their secrets, many hours needs to be spent out there, following them and watching carefully from a distance.
In Hawaii, bottlenose dolphins are found in small groups and sometimes solo dolphins associate with other species.
We met an unusually large group off the wild side of Lanai on Sunday July 10. They appeared quickly in the morning and interacted with a group of spinner dolphins and suddenly disappeared. We had little time to react.
However, late in the afternoon, we found them once more, not far from the initial location, along the coast of Lanai past Manele. It was a group of nine animals with at least two mothers and larger calves. Calves can stay with their mothers for up to seven years (generally 3-4).
They were traveling towards Manele Bay with bursts of speed and long underwater intervals.
We managed to photograph all the individual animals and we will be matching them to our historical catalog in the next week or so. Stay tuned....