Chompy at Cape De Couedic, Kangaroo Island January 2022 – Nikki Redman

A wonderful story of survival – a remarkably resilient sentient being, non human person

As far back as 1998 surfers at Pennington Bay, Kangaroo Island were telling stories of a remarkable looking dolphin with virtually no dorsal fin. At the time it was supported by two other dolphins from its pod, an outstanding example of the care and kinship within these groups for which they are renowned.

Chompy surfing at Pennington Bay, KI 2014 – Nikki Redman

Observations over the years have seen Chompy living life fully without the use of the dorsal fin, part of the balancing system used by dolphins to guide them so effortlessly through the fluid environment. 

Analysis of our land based monitoring images and vital community data generously provided by wonderful tour guide / photographer Nikki Redman and photographers and tour guides over the years, lead to the conclusion that Chompy was a possible shark attack survivor and indeed lucky to have survived that encounter.

We asked Nikki to name him / her…..Chompy it is and we added The Champion!

No doubt about it!

To watch Chompy thriving over all these years, and surfing etc as effortlessly as his peers is an incredibly moving experience.

In a fascinating development we believe Chompy is associating with several other dolphins with badly damaged dorsal fins, travelling very large distances along the rugged South Coast, including Nikki’s recent observations this month at Cape De Couedic, Flinders Chase!

 It seems these intrepid survivors stick together!

Quasimodo at West Bay KI 2013 – IFAW
Sellkirk at West Bay KI 2013 – IFAW
Chompy at Cape De Couedic 2022 – Nikki Redman
Chompy travelling in the company of dolphins and a sealion at Hanson Bay KI 2017 – Phyll Bartram

One can only observe with wonder and ponder the incredible will to live and desire to heal which characterises this remarkable example of overcoming a potentially disastrous injury and the resulting disability. Truly a perfect time to provide the ultimate accolade of champion to a remarkably resilient non human person – the dolphin simply known as “Chompy the Champion”.

Nikki Redman’s story

Kangaroo Island Odyssey  Naturalist Tour guide

June 12th 2014

“My colleague Terry Pearce recently showed me a picture of a dolphin he photographed at Pennington Bay 3 years ago with no dorsal fin which was being supported by 2 other dolphins in the pod.  Crazy enough the following day I was at Pennington Bay on tour and I saw a dolphin with no dorsal fin and managed to photograph it –  it was swimming freely in the pod, not being supported. I was amazed to find out after sending the picture to Tony and Phyll, that it was the same dolphin and what was even more wonderful, they let me name it. I called it “Chompy” as it looked like its dorsal had been chomped off by a shark.

On the 8th of June I was at Pennington Bay again and saw Chompy and friends. I didn’t manage to photograph it this time but definitely saw it!  2 days later on the 10th of June I was at Seal Bay half way along the KI coast and saw a huge pod of dolphins chasing fish. I believe they were launching out of the water and it was amazing. I then noticed a dolphin with no dorsal – I’m not 100% sure but I think it was Chompy.  If it was I think it’s amazing as it certainly is having no trouble keeping up with the pod. What an amazing survivor!”

Thankyou so much dear Nikki for your amazing, invaluable contribution over the years!

Our grateful thanks to all who contribute wonderful community data and images, helping us to learn more about these remarkable non human person, sentient beings!!

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Quasimodo with a large pod including Chompy at Pennington Bay KI in 2016, surviving and thriving! – Christian Clolus