Heart-wrenching Mother Dolphin Mourns Her Calf’s Death In Grief Dance
Michael McCarthy came across a harrowing scene when he was canoeing through the Intracoastal Waterway near St. Petersburg, Florida. On the vast ocean, he noticed the familiar flash of silver in a dolphin’s body. On closer inspection, he saw the animal was carrying a small fish.
Source: TWITTER/SEETHROUGHCANOEHe was under the impression that the dolphin was enjoying her dinner but realized an appalling circumstance after a while. “It took me a minute to accept what I was seeing when I first spotted the dolphin,” McCarthy, the See Through Canoe Company owner, shared. “I wanted to believe it was a large redfish or something, but it quickly became apparent that it was a dead calf.”
Source: TWITTER/SEETHROUGHCANOEThe man immediately took his camera out and filmed the heart-rending funeral. The mother dolphin nuzzled the body of her calf and cuddled it gently in a dance of grief. McCarthy spotted other dolphins accompanying her during the process to safeguard and comfort their friend. "As the mother made her way north through the Intracoastal Waterway, other dolphins joined her for short distances and then went on their way," McCarthy said, "except for one dolphin that stayed with the mother the whole time."
Source: TWITTER/SEETHROUGHCANOEScientists have pointed out that cetaceans, including dolphins and whales, show grieving behaviors, especially for mothers that lose their babies.
According to McCarthy, the calf was a victim of a collision with a motorboat, a kind of accident that seemed to happen frequently on the sea. “Judging by the scar patterns on the calf it was likely hit by a boat propeller,” McCarthy noted. “I've spent most of my life on the water and a lot of time around manatees and dolphins so, unfortunately, I'm very familiar with what propeller wounds look like.”
Source: TWITTER/SEETHROUGHCANOEPeople often misunderstand that dolphins are “too fast to get hit,” but the real situation is totally different. “The calves are even more vulnerable because they can't swim as fast and have to surface much more frequently for air,” McCarthy explained.
That's why the man was determined to capture the dolphin’s agony and shared the video on social media to “help raise awareness to a problem I see all the time.” His post on Twitter has earned over 76,000 views and many comments from netizens. "It was really hard to watch," McCarthy captioned his Tweet. "That image is going to be stuck in my head for a while."
Mother #dolphin not ready to let go of her dead calf and pushing it through the intracoastal waterway.It's hard to say for sure without examination, but the calf may have been hit by a boat. Please don't assume that because #dolphins are fast that you won't hit them. #sad pic.twitter.com/Le2MAwvPIB— See Through Canoe (@SeeThroughCanoe) June 3, 2019
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