Saturday, September 21, 2013

Video: South Carolina Dolphins Beach Themselves to Catch Fish

Seabrook Island gang of dolphins create bow wave-ABC Nightline
A pod of dolphins, known as the Seabrook Island gang, live off the South Carolina/Georgia coast and have a unique method of hunting.

The dolphins work together as a team by corralling schools of mullet near the beach. The dolphins then send out vocal cues to each other and swim as a group towards the shore thus creating a bow wave which causes the mullet to splash up onto shore. The dolphins temporally beach themselves and wait for the mullet to flop back towards the water and if the dolphins are lucky, they snag one along the way.

Seabrook Island gang of dolphins feed on mullet (Folly Beach, SC)-ABC Nightline
In a story by ABC's Nightline, National Geographic’s director of photography Scott Snide explains that this method of fishing is not without risks, "“If they sit up there too long they (the dolphins) can crush internal organs, they can burn,” Snider said. “A lot of bad things can happen.”

Snider also notes that as these dolphins become more well known and people crowd the shore to observe them, the dolphins may become more reluctant to use this method.

In a rather bizarre video (below) posted earlier this year on Youtube by gotoceeceest, we see first hand that the dolphin's way of life is truly in jeopardy.

Tourist chases after beached Seabrook Island dolphins -Gotoceeceeest
Gotoceeceest states that she went to Seabrook Island S.C to film the dolphins when she came across an older tourists who was trying to dive into the pod of beached dolphins. The gentleman's son was filming his father and explained to her that "his dad wanted to do this because he thought it would be spiritual."

Fortunately for Gotoceeceeest, the dolphins appeared to ignore the behavior of the older gentlemen and followed up with two more standings which she was able to capture on video. She notes that it was a real 'blessing' to be able to share the video with her father who was not able to join her due to health issues.