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"Pushy" behavior in a wild dolphin feeding program at Tangalooma, Australia

Orams, Mark B., Hill, Gregory J. E. and Baglioni, Anthony J., Jr. (1996). "Pushy" behavior in a wild dolphin feeding program at Tangalooma, Australia. Marine Mammal Science,12(1):107-117.

Document type: Journal Article
Citation counts: Scopus Citation Count Cited 24 times in Scopus Article | Citations

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Title "Pushy" behavior in a wild dolphin feeding program at Tangalooma, Australia
Author Orams, Mark B.
Hill, Gregory J. E.
Baglioni, Anthony J., Jr.
Journal Name Marine Mammal Science
Publication Date 1996
Volume Number 12
Issue Number 1
ISSN 0824-0469   (check CDU catalogue open catalogue search in new window)
Scopus ID 2-s2.0-0030024674
Start Page 107
End Page 117
Total Pages 37
Place of Publication United States of America
Publisher Wiley-Blackwell Publishing, Inc.
Field of Research 060801 - Animal Behaviour
Abstract A program where wild bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops truncatus) are fed by tourists in shallow water adjacent to a wharf has been established at Tangalooma, Queensland, Australia. Up to nine dolphins attend the nightly feedings, and between 60 and 80 resort guests are permitted to hand feed these dolphins each night. Since this program began in 1992, the dolphins have increased in confidence and have started, at times, to make forceful contact with guests who enter the water to feed them. This paper categorizes such behavior as “pushy” and reports on a study which quantifies the “pushiness” of the dolphins which feed at Tangalooma. The study examines ecological variables which may determine how pushy the dolphins are at different feeding sessions. The number of dolphins attending a particular feeding significantly increases the pushiness. In addition, the presence of adult males at a feeding is likely to increase pushing. Tidal state also influences how pushy the dolphins are. At low tide, when the dolphins’mobility is restricted by the water depth, they are less likely to be pushy. Given the problems experienced in a number of other situations where wild animals are fed by humans, it is important to monitor carefully the escalation of pushy behavior in this dolphin feeding program, as it may be a precursor to more aggressive actions on the part of the dolphins.
Keywords "Pushy" behavior
Bottlenose dolphin
Tursiops truncatus
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Created: Fri, 29 Aug 2014, 20:19:04 CST by Anthony Hornby