Fort Myers Beach: Dolphin Discovery & Conservation
Dolphins are aquatic mammals that have inhabited the waters of our planet for anywhere from 12 to 65 million years. Images of dolphins appeared in art as early as 1500 BC, and great Greek philosopher Aristotle told stories of dolphins, how they interacted with people, describing them as mammals.
We continue to be fascinated by dolphins, enchanted by their energetic, playful behavior and intelligent eyes. With the help of Hollywood, people have come to feel connected to these magnificent creatures and feel it’s safe to seek up close and personal interaction with them, a practice that causes undue harm, as dolphins are easily susceptible to danger from humans and watercrafts. This occurrence has created a tourism explosion, so much so that most tropical vacation spots now feature some element of dolphin sightseeing. According to an International Fund for Animal Welfare report from 2009, the U.S. has the world’s largest marine mammal viewing industry with approximately five million participants – 250,000 of which specifically view dolphins.
When dolphin sightseeing tours fully comply with marine law, as we do at Good Time Charters, dolphin sightseeing can be a joyous experience that does not harm dolphins in the least. At Good Time Charters we believe in education and conservation of our local Fort Myers Beach waters and marine life. Dolphins depend on their coastal homes for protection from predators, to care for their young, and to hunt for food. As their stewards, we must keep their best interests in mind when seeking to experience them in the wild. A few things we can all do to help keep our dolphin friends safe and allow them to thrive:
Never seek to take them out of the water, as contact with the water allows them to regulate their body temperature. The thick layer of fat beneath their skin can quickly dry out and overheat.
Never feed wild dolphins as it is harmful to the dolphins and illegal.
If you snorkel, please do not swim with the dolphins. This practice disrupts and can change the dolphins natural behaviors.
If you see a dolphin stranded on shore, or trapped in shallow waters, be sure to call for help. Here in Florida, call Florida Marine Mammal Stranding Hotline at 888-404-FWCC.
Help Hotlines are set up regionally and by State, and are all available here.