Dolphin Brings ‘Gifts’ To Shore To Lure Back Visitors
This guy has been missing the attention he typically gets from the local tourists. Wait 'til you see how he's trying to get them to return!
While some animals have been taking advantage of the absence of people during the coronavirus lockdown, like the swans that have returned to the Venice canals, or the goats taking to the streets in California, others seem to be missing their connection with humans.
Before the pandemic, Mystique, a 29-year-old humpback dolphin from Tin Can Bay on Queensland's Cooloola Coast, got dozens of visitors daily - thanks to the dolphin feeding center near where he likes to swim. Now, he seems to be missing the attention, and has started bringing 'gifts' from the sea to try and entice his adoring fans to come back.
These are some of the 'gifts' that Mystique has brought to the volunteers. Barnacles Cafe & Dolphin Feeding/Facebook
While Mystique has brought items to shore in the past, the volunteers who run the feeding program say that he's been doing it a lot more since the pandemic started.
"Since we've been closed to the public he has been doing it more and more," Lyn McPherson, one of the program's volunteers, told ABC News. "Sometimes he will bring 10, one at a time, and he will line them up as he has to get fish."
Here's Mystique, who the feeding center's volunteer refer to as "the clown of the whole family," swimming near the shore in Tin Can Bay...
Using his beak, Mystique has brought bottles, bits of timber, shells and pieces of wood to the shore for the volunteers at Barnacles Café and Dolphin Feeding. Typically, the staff gives the dolphin a fish in return for each item.
"We haven't trained him, but he has trained us to do this," McPherson said. "We swear he has a collection waiting to bring us."
Mystique is the only dolphin in his family that brings presents to shore. Barnacles Cafe & Dolphin Feeding/Facebook
Mystique came to live at Tin Can Bay with his "mum" in 1991. He's known as a bit of a tough guy since he often gets into fights with the other males.
"He also had a bull shark attack in 2007 and is missing a bit of his tail, and a bit of his dorsal fin," McPherson said.
There are seven dolphins in Martinique's pod, but he's the only one who brings 'presents' to the shore.
Now that Australia has been easing up the country's coronavirus restrictions, the volunteers are encouraging visitors to come back and feed the dolphins.
Pre-coronavirus, visitors lined up to feed the dolphins at Barnacles Cafe. Barnacles Cafe & Dolphin Feeding/Facebook
In a recent Facebook post, the café wrote: "Put a smile on someone's face and come spend some time and feed these beautiful creatures, they are definitely missing you all🐬"
We're sure that Mystique will be thrilled to see his old friends again. Hopefully, they're all stocked up on fish!