Some dolphin species seem to enjoy surfing in the bow wave of our boat and give a great show with lots of activity all around. Today I had the feeling that our acrobatic friends were rather joining us instead of us approaching them. Probably the most playful species around Madeira are the Atlantic spotted dolphins (Stenella frontalis) and the Short-beaked common dolphins (Delphinus delphis). We had great encounters with both of these sportive species during our trips today.
Fortunately, their populations around the Macaronesian islands are pretty stable and on good days we have the pleasure to be surrounded by big pods of up to 100 animals. We are very happy about this! In other regions, these species do not occur in such a plurality. The population of Short-beaked common dolphins in the Mediterranean Sea for example, is continuously declining and listed as “threatened” by the IUCN.
Entanglement in fishing gear, bycatch and food scarcity in overfished oceans puts increasing pressure on dolphins. Very critical is the situation at the moment for a small relative of our spotted and common dolphins, the Hector’s dolphin (Cephalorhynchus hectori). They are endemic to coastal waters in New Zealand and according to the Whale and Dolphin Conservation (WDC) there are only 10 000 of those lovely ocean dwellers left. Please sign this petition to help a small dolphin out of its dire misery: https://de.whales.org/kampagnen/kleiner-delfin-in-grosser-not.
by Jan-Christopher Fischer
Sightings of the day
09:00 Atlantic spotted dolphins
13:30 Atlantic spotted dolphins, Short-beaked common dolphins, Loggerhead turtles