Tom and Misha – Update!

In May of this year, I told you about the two captive Turkish dolphins (Tom and Misha) that had been rehabilitated and set free in the wild. As of July 16, 2012, it appears the two male dolphins are doing just fine! Interestingly enough, Tom and Misha did not remain together for very long. After a few days together, they each went their separate ways.

Tom is spending his time in Kusadasi, which is the area from which he is believed to have been captured. The other dolphin, Misha, is hanging around the area of Antalya and seems to be doing well.

This story has incredible ramifications for other dolphins currently being held in captivity. For those dolphins captured from the wild, it seems it may be possible to re-teach them the skills they need to survive and eventually release them back to the open sea. I wonder if we will soon be hearing more stories of successful dolphin releases.

For pictures and to follow the dolphins’ progress, please visit the Born Free website.

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Florida Pictures – Why I Love Florida!

Florida is breathtakingly beautiful. Pictures really cannot do justice to the natural beauty here. I have traveled quite a bit over the years, but something keeps drawing me back to this wonderful state. Maybe it is the dolphins (!), unique birds, palm trees, gorgeous beaches, warm weather, and never-ending supply of wonderful outdoor bars and restaurants. Since Florida is on my mind today, I thought I would share some Florida pictures that seem to somewhat capture my love affair with this special place. Here are some of my favorites!

Florida Bar

Florida Boardwalk

Florida Bird Ordering Food

Florida Bird

Florida Beach

Florida Beach 2

Florida Boat wake

Florida Dolphins Free

Florida Dolphin

John's Pass

Florida Motel

Florida Outdoor Dining

Florida Snack Bar

Marco RIver

Keewaydin Island

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Tom and Misha – Turkish Captive Dolphins Set Free!

Tom and Misha are two male bottlenose dolphins who had been living in a very small and dirty hotel pool in Turkey. They had been captured from the wild about 6-7 years ago and neglected since then. The Born Free Foundation (and other members of the “Back to the Blue” project) rescued these two dolphins, and over the course of about 20 months re-taught them survival skills. This training (e.g., how to hunt live fish) was in preparation for their eventual release back into the wild. This release day finally happened!

As of a couple of days ago, the two dolphins (who are being tracked by satellite) seem to be doing just fine. Trainers seem to think they are travelling back to the area where they were captured. At last report, they have travelled more than 100 miles.

You can learn more about Tom and Misha’s story and follow their progress at the Born Free Foundation’s website.  I wish them the best of luck! I have to admit I am nervous about their chances of survival, but I am thrilled they are being given the chance. If this rehabilitation is successful perhaps other captive dolphins around the world can be set free. Here is a video of their release back into the wild and their first taste of freedom.

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Where Do Dolphins Live? Near Florida Fishing Piers!

Dolphins like fishing piers and for good reason. Piers provide easy access to a variety of fish, and the humans do a lot of the work for them! When looking for new dolphin watching spots I always check out the fishing piers. Where there are fishermen there are usually dolphins too. Ever the opportunists, dolphins hang around waiting for the perfect opportunity to strike. Once fish are caught, the dolphins leap into action. Their goal — grab the fish before it is reeled in.

On a recent trip to Florida I watched this mischief get carried out numerous times. One fisherman told me he lost 19 fish to dolphins the day before!  Although it is exciting to watch dolphins leap out in pursuit of dangling fish, these fish are attached to dangerous hooks. This is where the problem lies. Dolphins can and do get hooked and harmed. Discarded fishing line also causes problems.

NOAA and its Florida wildlife conservation partners are setting out to educate fishermen about the dangers of hooking and entangling dolphins. Notices describing “dolphin friendly fishing tips” and how to protect wild dolphins while fishing are popping up in an effort to reduce harm.

Here are some pictures of dolphins hanging around a gorgeous pier in Florida.

Two dolphins up close

Partners in crime just waiting for their opportunity to strike!

2 dolphins begging from fisherman

Begging! “Maybe if I look really hungry this guy will help me out!”

two dolphins playing at a pier

These two took time out to play while waiting for their next victim to arrive.

Cute Florida pelicans

Pelicans are also commonly hooked as they also spend a lot of time at piers with the fishermen.

Dolphin stealing fish

This dolphin was heading in for the “kill”. What you can’t see here is the fish that had just been caught, and the fisherman preparing to reel it in. The dolphin jumped out of the water after it but he was too late. The fish was successfully reeled in!

Dolphin fishing tips

Some excellent advice on how to enjoy fishing while reducing harm to dolphins!

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Florida Dolphin Watching Pictures!

I recently got back from a more than 1,000-mile wild dolphin watching road trip in Central Florida! I was researching some potential dolphin viewing spots in preparation for publishing my second Dolphin Watcher’s Guide. All of these spots are within a 2 hour drive from Disney. There are incredible wildlife viewing locations close to the theme parks. I found some wonderful new places!

Here are some dolphin pictures I took on this research trip. I am a terrible photographer and had a not so great digital camera but was still able to get these shots — that’s how close you can get to wild dolphins without doing harm. No reason to keep them in captivity! Wild dolphins are so curious and playful. They will seek you out!

Dolphin in wake close up picture

Two dolphins in boat wake

Up close dolphin picture

Dolphins off pier picture

Up close pier dolphin picture

Dolphin and Pelican

Dolphin spyhopping picture

This last dolphin photo was taken with an iPhone!

This was one of my best dolphin watching trips in all my years travelling to see them. Imagine if I actually knew how to take good photographs. 🙂 I’ll upload some more dolphin pictures from this trip soon!

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