Dolphin interaction may occur in the " Interaction Zone" located in the shallow water in front of the centre. Ten dolphins are regular visitors to the Zone and dorsal fins are used to identify each dolphin.
When do the Dolphins visit?
The Bottlenose Dolphins are wild mammals, therefore their visits can occur at any time of the day and may last from between 5 minutes to 1 hour per visit. Historically speaking, visitations occur all year round but tend to occur more frequently during the months October through to April. As these are wild animals the centre cannot guarantee visits on any particular day or at any particular time, most frequent visitations tend to occur in the mornings.
The City of Bunbury is currently constructing a Coastal Revetment Wall outside our centre so at times the Interaction Zone may not be accessible, we are hopeful that this will be kept to a minimal time span.
Do we feed the Dolphins?
Times have changed. Research now proves that unregulated and excessive feeding of wild dolphins alters their behaviour, leading to a “taming’” of wild animals.
The Dolphin Discovery Centre conducts feeding under regulation from the Department of Parks and Wildlife. This feeding regime is strictly controlled and limited to 350 grams of fish per day. This is a small amount given that, in order to survive, a dolphin in these waters needs approximately 8-14 kilograms of fish a day. The fish offered to the dolphins is local to the Bay and therefore of the same type that the dolphins catch themselves. Fish are not used if they are deemed not fit for human consumption. The dolphins within the Bay feed on various fish including whitebait, herring, flounder, garfish, mullet, cobbler, flat head, pilchards, skippy and tailor. They have also been known to catch octopus and cuttlefish.
Interaction Zone Rules:
In order to protect both the dolphins and people who visit the Interaction Zone, a strict set of guidelines must be followed:
- Visitors are encouraged by our volunteer team to join them, as they enter into knee deep water where the dolphins can swim nearby if they wish.
- For the welfare of the dolphins, environmental regulations & the safety of visitors - no touching is allowed.
- People must stay within both the markers and our trained volunteers in the water.
- If a dolphin moves outside of the Interaction Zone then people are not permitted to follow.
- Do not try to attract a dolphin by clapping hands or splashing the surface of the water as this can be seen as a sign of aggression.