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Baby dolphin photographed off North Shore

Royal Gazette

Published Jun 26, 2013 at 8:00 am

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A dolphin and her calf were photographed off the North Shore of the Island.

Boaters off the North Shore had a rare opportunity to witness passing Atlantic bottlenose dolphins.

One Royal Gazette reader captured a shot of a mother and her baby approximately 200 yards off North Shore, not far from Gibbet Island, on Sunday afternoon.

The reader described it as “a very rare sight indeed” as most dolphins are generally spotted off the southern or eastern shores of the Island.

The animals seldom venture inside the reefline, which put this friendly pair a long way inshore.

Staff at Bermuda Aquarium Museum and Zoo are unsure of the age or sex of either animal but say they both appear to be healthy.

A Government spokeswoman, in a statement, said: “It is highly unusual for this species to be close to shore and in such small numbers. There are two varieties of this species; a coastal and pelagic type. The coastal species forms pods made up of females and calves containing as many as 20 members. Males leave the group once they are weaned and become solitary or form pair bonds with other males. The coastal species live in small bays on the eastern seaboard of North America.

“The pelagic subspecies live in deeper, open ocean areas. Several years ago, studies conducted by the Bermuda Wild Dolphin Project confirmed that this subspecies is found in Bermuda waters with sightings often reported by fisherman. They live in groups of 50 or more animals of both males and females. They tend to be darker in colour and larger in size than their coastal counterparts.

“This pair seems to be made up of two young animals but they don’t appear to be in distress. All marine mammals are protected locally and internationally by law and under no circumstances should members of the public approach or harass these two in any way. The Department appreciates the public’s understanding.”