Samadai: Life in plastic, it’s NOT fantastic
Mirror-like sea, a jellyfish invasion and a sandstorm: this is, in a nutshell, what happened during the last survey in Samadai. The team has visited the site for four days in a row and recorded three encounters of spinner dolphins, mostly females and youngsters.
Pregnancies are finally appreciable and we are in anxious wait for the newborns due in summer months. The weather has been funny, to say at least. Bad underwater visibility and literally jellyfish walls in the waters of the lagoon made the photo-identification data collection pretty hard but eventually good images were taken. We also had the chance to observe a few playful behavioral events displayed by some dolphins frolicking with a piece of plastic bag. A video is available on the RSDP facebook page, have a look, it is worth seeing!
Dolphins cognition studies have proven that these animals have developed functional uses of tools found in the water: for example in Shark Bay (Australia) researchers have observed the so called sponging behavior, employed in food searching activities (http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/4613709.stm). Other studies have described animals making use of litter as “toys” and engaging in play behaviors. It may be an enjoyable scene to observe, no doubt about that, but it shouldn’t make us forget that the plastic litter and the marine debris are among the most serious threats to the oceans and their dwellers, which are facing them presently.
With the cleanups organized for the Earth Day in the Red Sea region, HEPCA has stressed once again the urgency to intervene and to reduce the devastating impact of solid waste and litter on our wildlife and ecosystems; therefore, we call upon the community to consider everyday as an Earth Day.