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November 2018    Download the Entire Issue (PDF) Vol. 33, No. 11   RSS Feed for Undercurrent Issues
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A New Spin on Dolphin-Human Interactions

from the November, 2018 issue of Undercurrent   Subscribe Now

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People who swim with spinner dolphins aren't doing them any favors. That's why the National Marine Fisheries Service has issued a video giving six reasons why you shouldn't. The main one: It could disturb their rest, potentially harming them. Dolphins feed offshore at night and return to coastal waters in daylight hours to rest, socialize, tend their young and avoid predators. If their rest is repeatedly interrupted, it can affect their health, behavior and reproductive success.

Although they may not appear to be sleeping, spinner dolphins move and breathe from the surface while resting, so it's important to give them enough space -- say 50 yards -- so that they can get enough sleep to survive. If they are regularly disturbed, they may be forced to move to a different and less appropriate location. Hawaiian spinner dolphins choose sheltered areas with sandy bottoms that allow them to easily see predators approaching....

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