Bottlenose Dolphins (Tursiops Truncatus)

Madeira Marine Fact File with Claudia Gomes

We all know of “Flipper”, who was a bottlenose dolphin, in fact ‘Flipper’ was portrayed by 5 or 6 of them in the films. In nature they can reach a life span of 40-45 years, females at least 50 years. In captivity they die a lot earlier.

This TV Programm made the dolphins very popular, but the former Flipper trainer Ric O’Barry today is strongly against oceanariums or any kind of attractions like that and he turned into a strict defender for dolphins. See his site http://www.dolphinproject.org/

Traditional Madeirian name: Bôto

Measurements: at birth 33 till 55” (84 – 140 cm), male adult 8’ till 12’6” (2,45 – 3,8m), female adult 7’10” till 12’ (2,4 – 3,7m), weight male adult at least 1.100 lb (500 kg) and female adult 570 lb (260 kg)

Range and habitat: The bottlenose dolphin is one of the most adapable dolphins and very cosmopolitan, occuring in the oceans and peripheral seas 60º N and 50º S.

Reproduction:
Gestation and lactation last both at least a year, but after this time the calf has a close relationship to the mother for some more years.

In the temperate regions during the cold winter months they have fewer calves, but they can be born in all seasons. The calving interval is at least three years.

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Behaviour:

They are classical bow riders and like to jump and leap alot, which makes them very interesting for the dolphin industries such as parks and aquariums. They also associate with other cetaceans such as pilot whales.

Food and foraging:
They prey on a large variety of organisms all ways depending where they live. Offshore animals tend on pelagig or mesopelagig fish and squid, while coastal animals’ prefere invertebrates and fish, which live near the bottom. And they do it individually or in groups working all together.

Threats:
Like all the dolphins they have to handle with pollution, which may weaken their immune system, face habitat degradation, overkilling and other fishery conflicts.

In some parts of Japan, for example in Taiji, they are cruelly killed, the meat is sold in the local supermarkets and the most beautiful animals are sold for 100.000th for the dolphin industry. See the shocking video http://www.glumbert.com/media/dolphin 

Our experiences:
The Bottlenose Dolphins
are the only ones we may observe
all the year round in our waters around
Madeira Island.

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