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July 2017    Download the Entire Issue (PDF) Vol. 32, No. 7   RSS Feed for Undercurrent Issues
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Touch Me Not! Leave the Dolphins Alone

from the July, 2017 issue of Undercurrent   Subscribe Now

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Those who have seen the 2009 Academy Award winning documentary The Cove know about the abuses endured by dolphins captured for swim-with-dolphin programs. But how should we relate to wild dolphins we encounter while diving?

While diving outside Tiputa Pass in Rangiroa, I heard the familiar clicking sound and saw three adult bottlenose dolphins and a juvenile diving down toward my group, then swimming away. A 9-foot female trailing behind lingered, hovering vertically, like a dog wanting to be petted. As excited divers started to stroke her, some even trying to hug her, she closed her eyes. Was it ecstasy? After a long moment, she had her fill and swam away. I have had many encounters with friendly wild dolphins before, but I had never witnessed anything like this....

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