Survival of Bottlenose Dolphin (Tursiops sp.) Calves at a Wild Dolphin Provisioning Program, Tangalooma, Australia
Authors: Neil, David T.; Holmes, Bonnie J.
Source: Anthrozoos: A Multidisciplinary Journal of The Interactions of People & Animals, 1 March 2008, vol. 21, no. 1, pp. 57-69(13)
Abstract:Mortality of calves born to provisioned mothers is identified in the literature as an issue of concern in dolphin provisioning programs. Wild dolphin provisioning at Tangalooma, Moreton Island, Australia has been occurring since 1992. Each evening, up to eight dolphins are provided with fish in a regulated provisioning program. In this paper, calf survival at the Tangalooma provisioning program is reported and contrasted with that from wild populations and from a similar provisioning program at Monkey Mia, Western Australia. At Tangalooma, the calf survival rate is 100%, including both orphaned and first-born calves, both of which are expected to have relatively low survival rates. Possible explanations for the high calf survival rate are explored. These include site attributes such as isolated location and high water quality, aspects of foraging ecology likely to benefit calves of provisioned mothers, and the management regime used in the provisioning program (e.g., duration and timing of provisioning; quality of provisioned fish).
Document Type: Review Article