Bullying is a surprisingly common trait among humans - occurring not only on school playgrounds but also, in the workplace and even, among so-called friends. However, hearing that it may happen in the animal world is a little surprising, especially given that accused bullies are none other then the friendliest of all marine mammals - Dolphins!
That according to marine expert Peter Wallerstein and director of El Segundo's Marine Animal Rescue program can be the only plausible explanation for a solitary dolphin that has been swimming around in circles in Southern California's Bolsa Chica Wetlands since Thursday, April 26th, 2012.
When they first spotted the marine mammal alone, the staff from Marine Animal Rescue program assumed that it was just a laggard and tried to shoo it off into the Pacific ocean. However, as soon as it tried to swim away, it was greeted by two aggressive dolphins that began trashing violently in the water, forcing the 250-pound animal nicknamed 'Bolsa Chica Bob', to retreat back into the wetlands.
Dennis Kelly, chairman of the Marine Science Department of Orange Coast College disagrees. The dolphin expert who has been working with these magnificent animals for 34 years, believes that while dolphins sometimes get impatient and smack each other with their tails, they do not bully one of their own.
He thinks that this aggressive behavior is akin to a time out and therefore, a short-term punishment for a dolphin that was probably not paying attention and lagging behind, when the rest of the pod was trying to leave.
Whatever it is, the good news is that the bullied or punished dolphin is safe. There is plenty of fish to eat and its health seems fine. While experts are constantly monitoring it, they are hoping that it will eventually find the courage to venture out and join the rest of its pod. They will however, plan on a rescue mission if it becomes necessary.
Do you think the dolphin is being bullied? If so why? Be sure to let us know, by adding your comments below.
Great News! The stranded dolphin has left the harbor and is now hopefully swimming with the rest of its pod!
Resources: latimesblogs.latimes.com, sciencedude.ocregister.com