Dolphins DayDocumentary | 1998 | ABC
A dolphin pod living in the waters of a busy port on the South West Coast of Australia is intimately observed. Their rare willingness to interact with humans reveals a daily routine as complex as our own.
The Bottle Nosed Dolphins of Koombana Bay have been studied by Steve Honnor for the last seven years. Such is his familiarity with these remarkable mammals that they allow him to witness events rarely seen before. As a result we are treated to a fascinating day in the life of a dolphin pod. A young male, “Finky”, is making his first tentative steps towards the opposite sex but with limited success. No doubt his technique will improve with age. The contrast between Finky’s cute attempts and that of the fully grown male is made stark when we witness the violence of a charged up mating session.
Sadly the morality rate of dolphin calves is quite high. The female goes through an intense mourning period, often carrying around her dead calf until it disintegrates. In this weakened state she is extremely vulnerable to predators despite the circle of protection formed by the pod. Steve will occasionally intervene, removing the dead calf so that its mother can regain her strength more rapidly and concentrate on survival.
Despite the dramas of life, dolphins remain one of the most social wild animal species on earth. The image of their lives being one of carefree existence is only part of the picture. Dolphin days are actually highly structured revolving around a routine of work, rest and play just like our own. When the conditions are right though they like nothing better than a good surf and the film captures a group performance of spectacular energy.
What is unusual about the dolphins of Koombana Bay is that they are, for now, happy to live in an area that is highly settled, sharing the waters with commercial shipping and pleasure craft. The ever encroaching presence of human activity will nevertheless take its toll on these animals unless some action is taken. Thanks to the research untaken by Steve Honnor and the Dolphin Discovery Centre, the dolphins habits are now well understand and strategies are being untaken by the people of Koombana Bay to ensure the relationship between humans and animals continues to be one of harmony.