You love to see dolphins when you visit the Alabama coast, right? Everyone does! But those magnificent creatures face dangers from tourists, polluted waters and boat traffic.
There’s no doubt that viewing wild dolphins in their natural habitat can be a wonderful, thrilling experience. But there are steps you should take to make sure dolphins stay safe.
When you approach wild dolphins too quickly, move too close or make too much noise, you increase the risk of disturbing their natural behaviors, such as migration, breathing, nursing, breeding, feeding and sheltering.
As tempting as it may be, please don’t feed dolphins. They are hunters. When people feed them, it can cause them to not only lose their fear of humans and get too close to boats, but they may also lose their survival skills.
For these reasons, the Marine Mammal Protection Act prohibits harassing, hunting, capturing, killing or feeding dolphins. Following these simple guidelines will keep you Dolphin SMART:
- Stay at least 50 yards from dolphins.
- Move away cautiously if dolphins show signs of disturbance.
- Always put your engine in neutral when dolphins are near.
- Refrain from swimming with, touching or feeding wild dolphins.
- Teach others to be Dolphin SMART.
Other dangers to dolphins include chemical spills, oil spills and human waste. Trash tossed overboard is a danger, as dolphins can die from swallowing or becoming entangled in plastic bags and packaging.
So what do you say? Let’s all do our part to keep these creatures safe, healthy and magnificent for many years to come.