Saturday, September 24, 2005

Dolphins harassed by speed boat driver

A SPEED boat driver has been reported for harassing a pod of dolphins just days after one of the animals was slaughtered in a frenzied stabbing in Port Phillip Bay.

Dolphin Research Institute executive director Jeff Weir said a person called to complain about the driver spinning in tight circles around half a dozen dolphins frolicking off Mt Martha yesterday.

Mr Weir said the report was disturbing, coming on top of the senseless slaughter of an adolescent female dolphin washed ashore at Geelong's Eastern Beach on Sunday.
An autopsy showed the healthy animal died from one of seven stab wounds to the stomach.
A search is on to identify the person responsible for the death. If convicted, they face fines of $100,000 and up to a year in jail.

Wildlife officers have appealed for the anonymous caller to ring again.

Mr Weir said the report of dolphin harassment by a boat driver yesterday was alarming.
"It is a concern because these sort of cases can end tragically," Mr Weir said. "In November 2001, we lost a two-year-old calf to a boat strike.

"At the same time, the report shows that the public has rallied behind Port Phillip Bay's dolphins this week and it appears they are determined to do what they can to help protect the species."
A marine scientist, Mr Weir said fun-loving dolphins were stressed when intimidated by humans in powered water craft.

The bay boasts a permanent population of about 100 bottlenose dolphins.

Anyone with information about the dead dolphin can call the Dolphin Research Institute on 1300 130 949 or the Department of Sustainability and Environment customer service centre on 136 186.

Quick "Facts about Dolphins"