Tag Archives: animal interactions

In This Small Brazilian Town, Dolphins and Fishermen Work Together (Video)

On the Brazilian coast, a couple hundred miles south of São Paulo, lies the small town of Laguna.

Laguna is very much like most other small coastal towns in Brazil, with many people relying heavily on fishing to provide both food and income.

However, the fishermen of Laguna have a truly remarkable secret weapon: a pod of about 20 bottlenose dolphins. Check it out in this awesome video from the BBC series Human Planet:

This interaction is a beautiful example of a symbiotic relationship, one in which both species benefit from cooperation.

The dolphins help the fishermen by herding fish into shallower waters along the shore. Once the fish are bunched, the dolphins use specialized head or tail slaps to show the fishermen where to cast their nets.

Not only does it make fishing much easier and more effective, it also saves the fishermen the trouble of having to go out into deeper waters to find fish.

A fisherman responds to a dolphin’s cue by casting his net. Click to enlarge (Photo: Fábio Daura-Jorge)

When the fishermen cast their nets, it startles the schools of fish, causing them to split up and swim in random directions. This makes it much easier for the dolphins to pick them off as they try to escape.

The dolphins help provide fish to over 200 families in Laguna who have no other source of income.

Over the years, the fishermen have become  intimately familiar with many of the dolphins, even naming them. Some of the most skilled dolphins, like “Scooby” and “Caroba”, have been working with the fishermen for more than 15 years.

The dolphins herd schools of mullet towards the shore where they can be easily collected by the fishermen. Click to enlarge (Photo: Fábio Daura-Jorge)

Recently, a group of researchers decided to study the unique interactions.

Fábio Daura-Jorge, who works at the University of Santa Catarina in Brazil, was one of the leading researchers.

He pointed out that although this relationship is very unique, it’s not altogether surprising when you consider how social dolphins are as a species:

“Dolphin societies are very complex, and social interaction seems to drive foraging behavior…

It might be that the development of specialized foraging behavior occurs in small tight-knit resident coastal communities because there is a high degree of social interaction between the animals.”

Fábio Daura-Jorge played a key role in the study of Laguna’s dolphins, and also did some photography while he was there. Click to enlarge

He also stressed just how important the dolphins are to the way of life for the fishing families of Laguna:

“The fish provided from the cooperation with dolphins has an important economic and social value that has to be considered…

Essentially, if we lose the cooperative dolphins, we lose this unique traditional way of life and vice versa.”

Read more from Live Science here.

These Guys Were Just Enjoying a Day of Surfing When a Playful Seal Pup Decided to Join (Video)

Matthew and his friend Andrew like to shred a couple waves every now and then.

Recently, they were enjoying the waves off the coast of England when they had an unsuspected visitor. Matt describes the event:

“Me and my friend Andrew were out enjoying some summer waves when this little guy came along and scared the hell out of Andy because we didn’t know what it was! It nudged his foot from underneath.”

The next hour was filled with fun for both the surfers and the seal. Check out some of the footage below:

When the pair finally decided to call it a day, the seal pup followed them to the beach, and even  tried following them up the beach.

As a precaution, Andy called the local wildlife authority to inform them of the strange behavior when they got home, in case there was something wrong with the pup. But he did however add that,

“He didn’t seem unwell when he was surfing in like a pro!”

Although a representative from a local sanctuary said that they had never heard of seals jumping on surfboards before, it’s most likely that the young pup was just enjoying a new play experience with its new friends.

(h/t IFL Science)

BONUS: If you’re a fan of seals, you’ll probably love this video of a sea lion jamming out to Earth, Wind and Fire’s “Boogie Wonderland” at various different tempos.

The sea lion, whose name is Ronin, was the first non-human mammal proven to keep a beat.