Responsible Feeding Practices

Responsible Dolphin Feeding & Human interactions goals

The Tangalooma Island Resort Wild Dolphin Feeding Program is run to strict guidelines to ensure the safety of all guests and dolphins involved.

The dolphin pod that visits Tangalooma do not depend on us at all, and we actually discourage them from becoming dependant or reliant on the programme. This ensures the dolphins maintain their natural instincts and independence. Tangalooma only feeds each of the dolphins between 10% to 20% of their daily food requirement; this means the dolphins must continue to hunt for themselves to meet their daily food requirements.

It is quite satisfying to stay on the jetty immediately after the programme has finished and watch the dolphins continue to hunt and catch more fish to eat after they have been provisioned.

We feed the dolphins a varying diet of fish, although we mostly provision the dolphins with herring. Herring are fed to the dolphins as they are a species that is commonly found in the Bay.

Dolphins have sensitive skin and some do not like being touched by humans. Over the years many guests have visited and fed the dolphins, and if touching was allowed, this would become very stressful for the dolphins and possibly change their behaviour negatively. There is a disinfectant wash provided to guests before handling any fish for dolphin consumption It is very important that guests quickly disinfect their hands so we do not pass any bacteria onto the dolphins when handling the fish we feed them.

Flash photography from the beach is not permitted although is allowed from the jetty. Close-up camera flashes may cause the dolphins stress and is irritating to their sensitive eyes. The Tangalooma Photoshop team are trained to take photos using flash from behind the dolphins so that they avoid causing the dolphins any distress. 

Please respect these rules when feeding the dolphins.

We occasionally have more dolphins visiting the feeding program, however we do not encourage them to participate as only the dolphins within the regular dolphins social and family groups are fed at the provisioning program. This is designed to maintain the Tangalooma programme as a low impact managed interaction between humans and dolphins that is maintained by taking both human and dolphin needs into consideration.

Tangalooma operates launch transfer services from Holt Street Wharf, Pinkenba in Brisbane. Passengers travel in comfort across Moreton Bay aboard one of three high speed catamarans – the Tangalooma Jet, Flyer, and Express. To reduce emissions, the fleet runs on the highest grade and only DERM-approved marine bio-fuel.

Sustainability Credentials of the Tangalooma Island Resort Dolphin Feeding Program

Tangalooma Island Resort has long been recognised as the World's leading dolphin provisioning program, with its ongoing commitment to research and best-practice-care protocols to priroritise the health and wellbeing of the dolphins that participate in the program. A core component of this interaction is the accompanying education programme for each participant, which uses techniques derived from cognitive psychology and learning theory, which prompts increased enjoyment, knowledge and improved environmental attitudes, intentions and behaviour in participants. 

The Tangalooma Eco Centre has worked collaboratively with experts from universities the world over, to evaluate and assist the ongoing sustainability improvements to the program, assisting us to build a future that prioirtisies the protection of the habitats and survival of these incredible creatures for generations to come.

To view some of this leading research on the program please visit the Research Papers page of this site. 

Wild Dolphin Viewing & Wild Dolphin Feeding Access

Please note that casual visitors to Moreton Island are not allowed access to the resort premises for the nightly dolphin viewing / feeding experience. All guests that are authorised to stay overnight at properties within the grounds of the resort have general admission access to the dolphin viewing areas each evening. Only guests who have booked official day trips and select overnight stays with Tangalooma Island Resort will be able to participate in the nightly dolphin feeding program, but only if it was included in your original package. Consult your confirmation paperwork to confirm your access.

Wild Dolphin Feeding / Viewing is dependent on dolphin attendance, weather conditions & tides, therefore arrival cannot always be guaranteed; however over the last 3 decades of the program, we have experienced a 99% attendance rate. See Dolphin Feeding FAQs for further information about the program.

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