Mother dolphin's grief-stricken dance over her d.ead baby

Thursday, 18/05/2023, 17:15 (GMT+7)

While canoeing through the Intracoastal Waterway near St. Petersburg, Florida, Michael McCarthy stumbled upon a distressing sight.

 Amidst the vast expanse of the ocean, his attention was drawn to the glimmering silver hue emanating from a dolphin's physique. Intrigued, he ventured closer and soon discerned that the creature held a tiny fish within its grasp. 

Mother dolphin's grief-stricken dance over her d.ead baby 1

At first, McCarthy, the owner of See Through Canoe Company, believed the dolphin was indulging in its meal. However, a disconcerting revelation soon dawned upon him.

"Initially, it took a moment to comprehend what I was witnessing," he recounted. "I clung to the possibility that it might be a substantial redfish or some other prey, but the reality became painfully clear—it was a deceased newborn." 

Mother dolphin's grief-stricken dance over her d.ead baby 2

Prompted by the distressing sight, the man swiftly retrieved his camera and captured the poignant funeral scene. In a mournful display, the mother dolphin tenderly caressed and cradled her deceased calf, engaging in a somber dance of sorrow.

McCarthy observed several other dolphins accompanying her, standing by as guardians and sources of solace during this process. "While the mother dolphin continued her journey northward along the Intracoastal Waterway, some dolphins joined her briefly before parting ways," McCarthy recounted, "except for one dolphin that remained by her side throughout the entire ordeal."

Mother dolphin's grief-stricken dance over her d.ead baby 3

Grieving behaviors have been observed among cetaceans, such as dolphins and whales, particularly in cases where mothers experience the loss of their offspring, as noted by scientists.

McCarthy highlighted that the unfortunate calf had fallen victim to a collision with a motorboat, a recurring type of accident in the ocean. "Based on the scarring patterns on the calf, it appears to have been struck by a boat propeller,".

Reflecting on the distressing sight, McCarthy expressed, "Being familiar with propeller wounds is an unfortunate consequence of my extensive time spent around marine environments, including encounters with manatees and dolphins." 

Mother dolphin's grief-stricken dance over her d.ead baby 4

Determined to bring attention to a recurring problem he often comes across, McCarthy made the firm decision to record the distress of the dolphin and took to social media to share the video.

His post on Twitter received an overwhelming response, amassing over 76,000 views and numerous comments from online users. McCarthy expressed the difficulty of witnessing the scene in his Tweet caption, stating, "It was a truly challenging sight to behold, and the image will remain ingrained in my memory for an extended period." 

The loss of animal lives due to the thoughtless actions of humans is eternally heart-wrenching. The relentless pursuit of human greed and indifference has pushed numerous wildlife species to the brink of extinction, resulting in the loss of biodiversity.

While many are familiar with the anguish experienced by terrestrial creatures when their natural habitats are stolen and the food chain disrupted by humans, it is essential to recognize that marine life is also not spared from grave threats.