Another month, another peculiar dolphin story.
In June we wrote about the 26 dolphins that died after washing up on the shore in Southwestern England; some scientists called the event a mass suicide, and British newspapers wondered if there was a connection to the war games the Royal Navy had been playing in the area. Now, the U.S. has its own dolphin weirdness—nobody can figure out how to make them leave New Jersey.
Three weeks ago, 15 bottlenose dolphins decided to hang out in the Shrewsbury River near the Jersey shore. They haven’t left yet, and crowds have been gathering to see the marine creatures. But with Independence Day celebrations coming, officials are worried that people boating on the river to watch fireworks displays could scare or hurt the dolphins, and they’ve been trying to decide how to get rid of them.
Locals have gotten in on the act, too, suggesting to the Associated Press that playing the song of killer whale, a well-known dolphin predator, would make the dolphins swim for their lives back to the ocean. Another option would be simply catching the dolphins and putting them back out to sea. But any potential plan brings up the risk of hurting or killing some of the creatures, so the authorities decided to let the dolphins hang around for the 4th of July. Meanwhile, police patrol boats on the river will try to steer boaters away from the marine mammals.
So hopefully dolphins like fireworks. If not, maybe that’s the ticket to make them head for open water.
Image: flickr/Fovea Centralis