Dolphin calves in Mandurah waters

Mandurah’s Annual Dolphin Baby Boom

Every year, a heartwarming phenomenon unfolds in Mandurah waters – the birth of new Indo-Pacific bottlenose dolphin calves. So far this year, 7 calves have been born. We know from work Dr Krista Nicholson (Murdoch University), Estuary Guardians and our own company, that once born here, dolphins tend to remain this community ~ so we have multiple family generations of dolphins.

Dolphin calves stay with their mums about 2-3 years. Each year, the number of babies born is directly proportional to the number of breeding females living in these waters. We know that in general, this community is operating at maximum reproductive capacity – that is, those mums that can give birth are giving birth. This is great news!

The mums and babies in this community don’t roam as much as the males, and so we tend to see them in the same areas. While baby dolphins don’t all make it, as is normal in the wild, our population does have slightly lower mortality rates than in the wild. This is perhaps because Mandurah has abundant fish supplies, a generally temperate climate, and the estuary’s shallow waters mean fewer predators in the ocean.

Our human community plays an important role in the health of this population – locals, like Estuary Guardians, are quick to intervene if a dolphin strands ~ which can be deadly for them (see our stranding blog for more about this foraging behaviour) so these rescues help retain that healthy female population. And of course, we can all do our part to ensure their continued health – for example, never littering the water, and if on a boat, respecting space for newborn calves.

Our tour guides are all deeply involved in the Mandurah dolphin community, and can identify the animals by their fins. If you want to learn more about our newborns, and who’s who and who’s doing what, just ask on your next dolphin cruise, where dolphins are guaranteed or you come again on us!

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