Strong friendships mean resilience, even in the animal kingdom. Dolphins are known to establish close relationships with selected members of their pods and nurture these relationships over spans of time. While long-term friendships are not only emotionally fulfilling but also serve as additional protection, short-term friendships are just as valuable when it comes to learning processes. Like humans, dolphins gain an understanding of themselves and their surroundings by exploring… and what better and safer way to explore the world around you than in the company of your friends!
Atlantic spotted dolphins (Stenella frontalis) often move through the Atlantic Ocean in large schools of around 200 individuals but, amidst such large aggregations, the smaller subunits are the more constant entities and these are little circle of friends. Such groups often consist of individuals that happen to be in the same life stage or share the same interests and may obviously change drastically should one individual suddenly decide to leave. Relationships between individual dolphins, however, may even endure a lifetime and such life-long friendships have been observed particularly frequently in Bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops truncatus). Perhaps this is simply more documented in these larger dolphins since they generally move in smaller groups and tend to remain in specific areas, making it much easier for scientists to track relationships within groups.
Either way friendships aren’t only a sign of emotional sophistication and intelligence but also a sign of resilience within a group. The closer individuals are, the more likely they are to protect one another and the more solidarity exists between them as a unit.
Naturally, this is also applicable to us; friends, whether they’re old or new, are our teachers and our pillars. They are our chosen family and the individuals we’ve selected as companions to share important moments with. We had the pleasure of welcoming such circles of friends as guests on both our tours today and, despite the fact that we returned to the marina without a sighting this morning, one thing was clearly visible both in the morning and in the afternoon; Every moment is simply better when it’s shared with friends.
By Paula Thake
Sightings of the day
10:00 No sighting
15:00 Atlantic spotted dolphins, Bottlenose dolphins