University of Queensland researchers have discovered dolphins in the Moreton Bay Area, teaching fellow dolphins to ‘beg’ for food from recreational fishers.

This sophisticated behaviour was first noticed in a study into the social structures of Indo-Pacific bottlenose dolphins’. 

Since fishing is popular in the region, dolphins have now begun to take advantage of the feeds. But researchers warn this adaptive strategy may pose long term risks, and spread throughout wider dolphin populations.

Researchers also state better policing and awareness of illegal dolphin feeding is essential in avoiding harmful effects on these marine mammals.


Image: Image by Dr Leonie Huijser/UQ – Indo-Pacific Bottlenose Dolphin

Produced By: Toni Pankaluic

Featured In Story: Dr Leonie Huijser – Post-Doctoral Researcher at UQ’s School of Veterinary Science

First aired on The Wire, Monday 17 July 2023