Dolphins surround swimmers in risky encounter off New Zealand (video)

A father and daughter swimming off the beach at Thorne Bay in New Zealand suddenly found themselves surrounded by a growing pod of bottlenose dolphins. By their laughter, the swimmers were certainly enjoying the moment, even though what they were doing was extremely dangerous. Take a look at the video posted by The New Zealand Herald:

Department of Conservation marine technical adviser Clinton Duffy told The New Zealand Herald that he has seen dolphins from the pod playing with children close to the coastline in the past.

“I’d say there’s a bit of feeding going on, the way they’re all circling around in quite a tight bunch and the jumping could be to help concentrate fish or chase fish towards other dolphins,” Duffy told the Herald.

But while Duffy thought the dolphins in this video were feeding, the swimmers, after taking a look under the surface, believe one of the dolphins had just given birth.

“When we got out there you could see … two very small dolphins and one that must have been born within minutes because it was tiny and it was wedged up, being held between three of them swimming in formation, like protecting it,” James Hoseason told the Herald.

“They seemed totally and utterly unperturbed by any humans. … They were showing off with tail-slaps, tail-stands, splashing, all sorts.”

Fortunately, Hoseason and his 9-year-old daughter, Emma, swam with the dolphins without incident. NOAA urges swimmers to stay away from wild dolphins. They may appear friendly, but some people have been pulled under the water or bitten by dolphins.

“Truly wild dolphins will bite when they are angry, frustrated, or afraid,” NOAA writes in a Protect Dolphins brochure. “When people try to swim with wild dolphins, the dolphins are disturbed.”

This story, however, ended well. Apparently these dolphins were merely celebrating a newcomer to the pod.

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