Flashback or Comeback?
Back in June I reported on the wonderful sighting by friends of WDC (the Ionian Dolphin Project) of a pod of 7 common dolphins in the waters off of Greece in the Mediterranean Sea. This was a truly remarkable and very exciting sighting as it is an area that has seen a drastic decline in numbers of common dolphins, from 150 to 15 in just over 10 years, and it had been many years since the researchers had seen any at all. However, now there is even more good news that needs to be shared.
Just the other day they encountered another group, consisting of 6 individuals (5 adults and one juvenile) and were treated to a spectacle of common dolphin exuberance – this is a species that just love to show off, play and leap out of the water. As if this wasn’t enough, preliminary results from their photo-identification work has shown that some of the dolphins are already known to the researchers and one dolphin in particular was first seen in these very waters back in 1997 … 16 years between sightings!!
Joan Gonzalvo, Priniciple Investigator of the Ionian Dolphin Project said, “For a couple of hours it felt as if we were back in the early 90′s; as if we were back in those good old days when seeing groups of common dolphins was no surprise. While lack of prey caused by overfishing resulted in habitat loss, a decline in numbers and dispersion, common dolphins may re-colonise this area and possibly increase in numbers if timely fisheries management action is taken.”
So perhaps, for common dolphins in the Mediterranean, classified as Endangered by the IUCN, there is hope after all …!