Saturday, January 12, 2008

A wild dolphin is wild even if it looks tamed!

A dolphin dubbed Moko has started giving the children holidaying in Mahia, south of Gisborne, rides in the shallows.

The friendly dolphin has been in the area for a while, having been sited last in August 2007. This time around, Moko is even friendlier than before.

But marine mammal expert Anton Van Helden warns that it may not all be fun and games, and people should be careful.

Helden says dolphins are large mammals which can behave unpredictably and there are also problems with disease.

"They (dolphins) may pick up diseases. They're not inoculated like we are so they could pick up things from us. These things can happen and some very nasty diseases are prevalent within dolphins and they're also transmissible to humans," says Helden.

In the 1950s another friendly dolphin Opo died mysteriously after wowing summer time beach goers.

Those catching the latest rides need to keep this in mind.

Quick "Facts about Dolphins"