Case Study: Human/Dolphin Problem #2

Michael Williamson (
Mon, 13 Dec 1994 14:54:48

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Date: Tue, 13 Dec 1994 14:50:26 -0500 (EST)
From: Michael Williamson <>
Subject: Case Study: Human/Dolphin Problem #2
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From:	SMTP%"MARMAM@UVVM.BITNET" 13-DEC-1994 14:07:39.19
Subj:	Re: Tursiops in a big trouble needs help!!!
Date:         Tue, 13 Dec 1994 08:35:12 -0800
Reply-To:     Marine Mammals Research and Conservation Discussion
Sender:       Marine Mammals Research and Conservation Discussion
Comments:     Warning -- original Sender: tag was rbaird@SOL.UVIC.CA
From:         "Richard C. Connor" <connor@casbs.Stanford.EDU>
Subject:      Re: Tursiops in a big trouble needs help!!!
To:           Multiple recipients of list MARMAM <MARMAM@UVVM.BITNET>
In-Reply-To:  <9412122218.AA01290@casbs.Stanford.EDU>
On Mon, 12 Dec 1994, Marcos Cesar de Oliveira Santos wrote:
> December, 12th, 1994. Sao Paulo - Brazil. From march to August of this
> year, a male Tursiops truncatus was observed "living" next to the
> ferry-boat pier of Sao Sebastiao city (23 S) northern coast of Sao Paulo
> State. This species is not common so close to the shore in this latitude,
> being easier to find it offshore. After this 5 months alone "residence" in
> Sao Sebastiao, where nobody got in touch with him, he moved towards to the
> beaches of Caraguatatuba, a city very close to S. Sebastiao. Then, from
> August till now, he has been making contacts with human beings, like,
> simple touches, riding on his back, jumping on his back, trying to take
> him out of the water to take photos, putting an ice cream's stick in his
> blowhole and even hitting him. Sometimes there was 10 to 30 persons
> sorrounding and stressing him. Few people understood the way he was trying
> to make contact with them and took those horrible attitudes. Many people
> came to Caraguatatuba just to "swim with the dolphin". The local
> environment protection governamental organ, IBAMA, noticed the authorities
> about possible risks. NO ONE HELPED! Some volunteers (local people and
> biologists) helped to notice the public how they could observe the dolphin
> without hurting him. It wasn't enough. The dolphin started to hit the ones
> who hit him. Few people suffered some injuries. So, on the 8th of
> december, after being bothered by many people, the dolphin hit some of
> them. One had 2 ribs broken and another, unfortunatelly, died with an
> inner hemorrhagia. The dolphin hit him few times. He went alive to the
> hospital that attended him two hours after arriving. Some people believe
> that it was a fatal negligence of the Hospital (we are checking the
> fact), and they found out that this man was drunk when bothered the
> dolphin. Just to remind, Brazilian laws don't allow any kind of
> bothering, killing or hunting of cetaceans.
> We are all worried about new incidents. We are trying to avoid the
> contact of humans and the dolphin using boats and a buoy net close to the
> shore that isolate the public from the dolphin. It is hard to control the
> public. It is a large area and sometimes we just know where he is when an
> accident occurs. We are living the school vacancies and a hot summer.
> These beaches are crowd. In week-ends, the visitors come in higher
> numbers. The local prefect noticed that "the dolphin must be removed or
> killed, because he can't loose the tourists money by the presence of a
> killer dolphin in the water". Local people does not agree with him, but
> some outside tourists are afraid of him. The image of the dolphins in
> general is changing to some people. We are worried about it and we have
> to run against time. A man was "killed" by a dolphin and this fact can
> build a wrong image of a docile mammal. The consequences can be worst!
> So, I decided to get in touch with all marmamers to hear about opinions,
> sugestions, ideas and even about experiences. Has anybody noticed a case
> like this? Please, get in touch with me as soon as possible. We must try
> to solve this problem, without injuries to another victim and either to
> the dolphin. Let's try to solve this problem together.
> Thanks for your kind attention. Greetings,
> Marcos Cesar
> Biologist - Universidade de Sao Paulo
> e-mail code:
Dear Marcos Cesar,
        I have been expecting something like this to happen sooner or
later. I work in Western Australia at Monkey Mia where tame dolphins
allow people to touch them.  I have always been angered and disgusted at
the way so many people approach the dolphins--groping and pawing and
grabbing.  There are definite rules of etiquette for approaching dolphins
and not only do people not observe such rules, they are oblivious to
the same threats from dolphins (e.g. snapping) that would send them fleeing
from a dog. It is a sad fact that people do not respect an animal they do not
Richard Connor