Dusky dolphins put on acrobatic display at Fish Hoek

Posted by David Henning on 1 June 2021

In 1828, John Edward Grey of the British Museum of Natural History described a new species of dolphin from the Cape of Good Hope known as Delphinus (Grumpus) Obscurs. The dusky dolphin is a species found in the cool coastal waters of the Southern Hemisphere. 

A dusky dolphin’s acrobatic display at Fish Hoek

In South Africa, their range stretches from False Bay, around Cape Point and along the continental shelf of South Africa’s West Coast. The Dusky Dolphin remains an obscure figure when compared to its cousin, the bottlenose dolphin. Even when it comes to research, its obscurity persists, with little to no research done and currently, there is no monitoring or systematic research scheme to find out more. The IUCN red list of threatened species merely comments that it is unknown whether or not the population is declining. 

Even though there is insufficient data in order to accurately comment on their conservation status, they are threatened by fisheries, often falling victim to the bycatch of some trawlers. The animosity of some fishermen towards seals has also been projected onto dusky dolphins, with even a report of a bullet wound discovered in the corpse of one

Regardless of this, the dusky dolphins came out of the shadows and put up an acrobatic show just off Fish Hoek beach recenyly, a testament to the rich biodiversity off our shores. Even though little is known about them, one thing they are well well known for is their skillful and energetic leaping. They frequent coastal waters in pods of 20 or more, sometimes reaching 1000 and are known to approach boats. Fish Hoek resident Dana Hart Goldberg captured this beautiful display for all those who were unlucky to see it.

Have a look at the rest of the performance:







Pictures: Dana Hart Goldberg

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