Dolphins constantly Bring “Gifts” from Ocean to Attract People’s Attention

A pod of dolphins in Queensland has been bringing ashore gifts from the sea – apparently because they’re missing interaction with humans. 

The humpback dolphins usually mingle with visitors at Barnacles Cafe & Dolphin Feeding at Tin Can Bay, north of the Sunshine Coast.

But it’s been weeks since visitors lined up to feed the animals due to coronavirus restrictions.

Among the treasures the marine creatures have provided are sea sponges, barnacle-encrusted bottles and pieces of coral. 

“The pod has been bringing us regular gifts, showing us how much they’re missing the public interaction and attention,” said a post on the cafe’s Facebook page.

“They are definitely missing you all.” A volunteer told the ABC while the pod has displayed the behaviour before, it had increased while the venue was closed. 

“Nothing surprises me with dolphins and their behaviour anymore,” told McGovern, a UQ PhD student.

Dolphins, Missing Public Attention, Bring Gifts From The Sea For Humans

“They do everything – they use tools, they have culture, they have something similar to names in signature whistles. 

“In all likelihood, they probably don’t miss humans per se. They probably miss a free meal and the routine.”

He speculated it may be a “play-like behaviour”.

“They often play with bits of weed and coral and all sorts of things and just leave it on their rostrum (nose),” he said. 

Are these dolphins bringing 'gifts' because they miss the attention?

“They’re used to getting fed now, so they’re used to humans coming in.

“When it’s not happening, maybe it’s just out of boredom.”

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