Somehow we knew the day would be different….
All surveys are special.
S122 in December 2012 to Dashwood Bay in the Mission Blue www.missionblue.org North Coast Hope Spot was unique. Every one of the Citizen Science volunteers felt we were privileged to witness the coming together of 2 large groups of Bottlenose dolphins, participating in apparent mourning, grieving behaviours for one of their own….tiny little Angel, Tiki’s new calf.
We had not confirmed Tiki, with a distinctive dorsal fin, catalogued in 2006 at North Cape as female. What a tragic way to find out. Observing wildlife can be exciting, joyful and uplifting but also provides moments of great poignancy and grief.
Approaching the bay we noticed dolphins acting differently, slowly zigzagging in a tight group in a purposeful manner out to sea. In the front Tiki was carrying something in her mouth, a large fish, small shark, or similar. On closer inspection via binoculars Skipper Andrew Neighbour realised Tiki was carrying an emaciated body of a young calf. To the distress of all we realised we were observing a “funeral procession” in human terms, with a fellow mammal mother taking her dead child out to sea surrounded by her grieving pod.
The grief was palpable. Years later it is etched in our minds – extraordinary animal connectedness, empathy, and compassion of common sentience. In December 2015 we were delighted to record Tiki with an active new calf at North Cape. We called him/her Gabriel. We often think of Tiki and her calves and wonder how and where they are, and hope they are thriving.
Back on the water on wonderful KI Marine Adventures www.kimarineadventures.com.au next week for S228 – what a special start to the New Year it would be to see Tiki and a healthy calf or juvenile again!
#Tiki #Angel #Gabriel #mourning #grief #loss #dolphins #marinemammals #sentientbeings #citizenscience #volunteers #photgraphicidentification #missionblue #northcoast #kangarooisland #hopespot #hope