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Dolphin Makes Amazing Gesture Against Ocean Plastic Pollution

| Mark J. Palmer
Topics: Cetacean Habitat, Dolphins

I find myself at a loss for words about this amazing story, conveyed to us by Lacey and her friends.



Here’s Lacey’s comment on the incident:


While diving on Grand Turk recently, we were given a humbling lesson in oceanic pollution from a wild bottlenose dolphin; an experience which I believe your readers may find interesting.

We had just come up from a dive on Grand Turk and were heading back to shore when we saw that there was a pod of three wild bottlenose dolphins heading towards our boat.  

One of the wild bottlenose dolphins swam up to the back of our boat.  I grabbed my GoPro and slipped over the back of the boat to snorkel. 

The dolphin was hanging out under the motor, and on her fin she was carrying a plastic bag.  She approached our group immediately, then turned and headed again towards the back of the boat where the dive instructor was on board rinsing a mask over the side.  She swam right up to where he was and looked to be attempting to hand up the bag (this portion of the encounter unfortunately was not in frame - I was so surprised that I wasn't even pointing my camera in the right direction).   

When the dive instructor took his hands out of the water, the dolphin hung back under the motor.  She just watched; she appeared to be waiting for something, and, after a minute or two, the dolphin casually dropped the bag in front of us.

 She gave the bag to us, in what appeared to be a deliberate attempt to make us dispose of the bag properly. 

A woman in our group picked it up and handed it to the dive instructor on board, and then the dolphin poked her head up fully out of the water, as if to see where the bag had been put. 

The other two dolphins in the group were also swimming around, albeit a bit further away.  So it seemed very clear to us that the dolphin who approached us did so because she was the one carrying the bag and wanted us to take it.  

She swam around us for a while, as if to say thank you, and then disappeared into the blue.



Was the dolphin (not sure if it was male or female) just being helpful?  Playing?

Or was she bringing a message to Lacey and the rest of humanity that we should stop disposing of our garbage in the ocean homes of dolphins and so many other living beings?

On the positive side, Lacey notes that the government of the Turks & Caicos Islands has decided to ban the import of plastic bags, which will take effect in January 2019. 

We encourage you to spread the message this marvelous dolphin could be conveying!