Subject: QLD: Dolphins "Largely unaffec

r.mallon1@genie.com
Thu, 24 Oct 96 11:44:00 GMT

QLD: Dolphins "Largely unaffected" by hand-feeding

   BRISBANE, Oct 23 AAP - Dolphins in Moreton Bay off Brisbane and
at Sea World on the Gold Coast remained largely unaffected by their
contact with humans, a researcher has found.
   But hand-feeding and human interaction should still be limited
and closely monitored, said University of Queensland doctorate
student, Ilze Brieze.
   She found the movements and behaviour patterns of bottlenose
dolphins feeding at the Tangalooma Island resort in Moreton Bay
were similar to those of other wild dolphins in the area.
   The captive bottlenoses at Sea World, where groups of up to 10
people feed and swim with dolphins in a pool for 20 minutes four
times a day, appeared to respond positively to the interaction, she
said.
   Working with academics from the university's Farm Animal
Medicine and Production Department, Ms Brieze carried out the
one-year study following evidence that dolphins at Monkey Mia in
Western Australia had become dependent on hand-feeding.
   This had resulted in dolphins seeking food from boats outside
designated 'safe' areas, exposing them to pollution, disease and
inappropriate foods.
   In some cases, Ms Brieze said, female dolphins neglected their
calves in the search for food from humans, resulting in a higher
death rate among their young.
   She added that while the results of her study were generally
positive, follow-up studies should be carried out at least every
two years.