Harnessing the Power of Dolphin Love: Transforming Passion into Positive Impact

Tue, 06 Jun 2023

By Tangalooma Island Resort

Harnessing the Power of Dolphin Love: Transforming Passion into Positive Impact

Nestled just a short 75-minute scenic boat cruise away from Brisbane, Tangalooma Island Resort has become a beloved retreat for locals & travellers alike seeking an easy escape from the city. Family-owned and operated by the Osborne family since 1980, the resort has carved a niche for itself by offering an unparalleled experience with wild bottlenose dolphins in their natural habitat. With a steadfast commitment to responsible wildlife interaction and best practices, Tangalooma Island Resort takes immense pride in its renowned Wild Dolphin Feeding program.

A Responsible Approach to Dolphin Feeding:

From its inception in 1992, the Tangalooma Wild Dolphin Program has prioritised the safety, health, and natural behaviours of the resident pod of dolphins in Moreton Bay. Strict guidelines and protocols are followed to ensure the well-being and preservation of these magnificent creatures. The feeding practices are designed to supplement the adult dolphins' diet while encouraging their natural foraging behaviours, striking a balance between their welfare and their ability to find food in the wild (the dolphins are only fed between 10% & 20% of their daily diet in the program).

Scientific Research and Conservation Efforts:

Integral to the program's success are a number of research papers authored by leading marine biologists and researchers. These dolphin research papers shed light on the effective feeding strategies implemented within the Wild Dolphin Program at Tangalooma. One notable study, "Survival of Bottlenose Dolphin (Tursiops sp.) Calves at a Wild Dolphin Provisioning Program, Tangalooma, Australia," conducted by David T. Neil and Bonnie J. Holmes in 2008, highlights the program's impact on the survival rates of bottlenose dolphin calves. The findings demonstrate the success of the program in ensuring the well-being and longevity of the young dolphin population.

Meticulous Supervision and Ethical Interactions:

Setting itself apart from other feeding programs, Tangalooma's Wild Dolphin Program ensures meticulous supervision of all dolphin interactions by the dedicated Dolphin Care team. Each dolphin is assigned a team member who oversees the feeding process, ensuring that no touching or patting occurs, for the safety & wellbeing of the dolphins. Additionally, guests are required to disinfect their hands before handling fish for dolphin consumption, to ensure a hygienic environment. These measures exemplify the program's commitment to the well-being of the dolphins and their natural behaviours.

Environmental Education and Sustainable Behaviours:

Tangalooma also recognizes the importance of environmental education in fostering sustainable behaviours among its guests. The paper authored by Professor Mark B. Orams, "The Effectiveness of Environmental Education: Can We Turn Tourists into 'Greenies?'" delves into the impact of Tangalooma's environmental education programs. The research reveals how Tangalooma's initiatives in this space have influenced tourists to adopt eco-friendly habits, fostering a love for the environment. Through their dolphin feeds and educational efforts, Tangalooma is making a positive impact on the world.

Challenges and Conservation Efforts:

Now, let's address the challenges faced by our dolphin friends in Moreton Bay. It's a tough life out there, with threats like habitat degradation, pollution, and entanglements. But fear not! Tangalooma's dedicated team plays a crucial role in identifying and mitigating these risks through their proactive check of each dolphin who comes into the program. On more than one occasion, they have had to request the assistance of the Sea World Foundation Rescue Team to rescue dolphins facing life-threatening situations, such as entanglement in fishing wire (read about Operation Comet here). Tangalooma's collaborative approach, involving organizations such as Sea World vets when required, has proven effective in safeguarding the well-being of the dolphins.

A sustainable future

In conclusion, Tangalooma Island Resort's Wild Dolphin Feeding program sets the standard for responsible tourism and marine conservation. Through scientific research, sustainable practices, unwavering dedication, collaborative efforts, educational initiatives, and ethical values, Tangalooma is leading the way in Wild Dolphin Provisioning. Have you fed the wild dolphins at Tangalooma?

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Tangalooma Island Resort

Take the world's 3rd largest sand island…add a splash of sunshine, balmy sea breezes, a dash of discovery and a handful of adventure, and you've got Tangalooma Island Resort. An island oasis, just a 75 minute cruise from Brisbane.

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