22 May 2009

Bottlenose dolphin carrying dead newborn

Gulf of Corinth, 18 May 2009

An adult bottlenose dolphin was observed carrying a decomposed newborn, possibly her dead offspring.

The observation was made by Tethys researcher Silvia Bonizzoni and by Tilen Genov, President of the Slovenian NGO Morigenos, together with four volunteers participating in the Ionian Dolphin Project.

The presumed mother was observed for a total of two hours, consistently carrying the corpse on her back, in front of the dorsal fin (see photo), also performing dives and resurfacing with the newborn. Occasionally the dead newborn was pushed and carried underwater by her presumed mother with the rostrum.

Other dolphins were seen in the area during the observation, but they tended to stay away from the couple.

The presumed mother was photo-identified based on long-term natural marks on her dorsal fin. On the following day (19 May) she was sighted again in the same area in the company of another adult, but without the dead newborn.

Giovanni Bearzi

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

interesting behavior, can you give an interpretation out from the schemes of the humanization of the dolphins?
thank you
Luca Bittau