Thursday, June 30, 2005

Follow the Wild Dolphins

From the diary: “June 2, 1985

“I just finished reading Follow the Wild Dolphins by Horace Dobbs. Was incredibly moved by the accounts both joyous and horrible of Donald the Dolphin & other dolphins friendly to humans.”

I remember this book. Author Dobbs wrote up dolphin-human friendships. There is the rare free-living dolphin, it seems, who becomes interested in people, hangs out where people enter the water, and will even build a friendship with individual humans. As I recall these are almost always young male dolphins that are not living in a pod – pods tend to be harems with one dominant adult male running the show so young males can be shut out. Being social animals they seek company and maybe they recognize in people a similar life and intelligence and a reciprocal interest. Sadly, humans do not always behave kindly toward their fellow creatures (let alone members of their own species); idiots with guns will take potshots at dolphins, but incidental dangers like boats and nets are more frequent killers.

I see Dobbs has an “Adopt a Dolphin” page on his website. Dobbs lists some of the wild-living human-friendly dolphins he wrote about in Follow the Wild Dolphins. Dolphins are long-lived creatures. Nobody knows for sure how long is typical, but 50 and 60 years is not uncommon. (Of dolphin longevity one site says they live “up to 40 years.”) There’s a website devoted to Fungie, a wild Irish dolphin who likes to play with visitors to his bay. All of a sudden I want to visit Ireland.

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