Why Those That Love Dolphins Shouldn’t Watch Them in Bocas del Toro
Everyone loves dolphins, right? These social animals have been known to save beached whales, become lifelong friends with one another and play with human swimmers. But dolphin watching tours are harming the Bottlenose population in Bocas del Toro…
Whilst we were in Bocas del Toro, Charlie and I went on a dolphin watching tour and it was all my fault. After two days of working from the decking of our wonderful hostel, a crafty local tour guide named Alexander managed to sell us a trip. He was offering a boat tour for $15, down $10 on the original asking price and would take us to a number of interesting points in the archipelago, including Dolphin Bay.
Charlie was immediately suspicious. “Will we get close to the dolphins?” she asked.
“Yes – I mean, no, no,” he said, sensing her hostility, “close enough to watch, but safe for the dolphins, and it’s very quiet…” This should have given the game away, but it was at this point that I stepped in, unhelpfully. “I’m sure that we probably won’t even see any dolphins, and if we do, it won’t hurt them if we are far enough away.” Reluctantly, Charlie accepted, money changed hands and the tour was booked.
This turned out to be a mistake. I’ve been to plenty of “Dolphin Bays” and “Shark Points” in my time and none of them ever actually had dolphins, sharks, or anything else much, leaving me skeptical of this kind of name. Dolphin Bay usually means “my grandad saw a dolphin here once thirty years ago” or “if you squint, that rock over there looks kind of like a flipper.” But this time it was different and that’s why you should always do your own research when it comes to wildlife tours. Dolphin Bay is home to a population of around 200 Bottlenose dolphins and tourists visiting by the boatload are all but guaranteed to see these amazing animals on any given day of the year. But should they?
Read the rest of the blog here.
Read our RIGHT-tourism article on Swimming with Wild Dolphins.