Dolphins filmed for the first time raiding crab bait from fishermen
The time for Australian dolphins to enjoy a tasty meal of crab legs may be coming to an end. The intelligent creatures have been foiling local fishermen for a while, stealing the bait straight out of the nets before any fish are caught.
Up until now, the dolphin’s sneaky tactics have remained a mystery. Researchers and fishermen teamed up and used underwater cameras to film the dolphin’s unusual behaviour.
Wildlife conservationist Rodney Peterson discovered how the bottlenose dolphins were getting inside the crab pots. He set out on a two-year investigation alongside the Dolphin Discovery Centre in Bunbury, Western Australia.
The team used five underwater cameras and placed them in locations around the crab pots. The cameras did not put off the dolphins, who kept stealing the bait.
The dolphins were able to find and get to the bait even when it was hidden or put underneath the pot. They could even open and unlatch the cages. Researchers say that this behaviour has not been seen in such detail before now.
The scientists realised that these dolphins were stealing the bait for fun rather than because they were hungry.
However, the crab diet is not healthy for the dolphins, and it is frustrating for fishermen. Eventually, the team came up with a dolphin-proof pot that kept the dolphins out.
We know more about space than we do about the oceans on our own planet. It is very useful for scientists to watch animals’ behaviour using cameras and small recording devices.
Alex Baker is a portrait and lifestyle driven photographer based in Valencia, Spain. She works on a range of projects from commercial to fine art and has had work featured in publications such as The Daily Mail, Conde Nast Traveller and El Mundo, and has exhibited work across Europe