Eco-tourism and Dolphins
While filming in the African wilderness, the Running Wild crew cooled off in the ocean off the coast of Mozambique. On the border of South Africa and Mozambique lies a small city with zero docks called Ponta Do Ouro. In this town is a place called the Dolphin Research Center Mozambique where tourists are allowed to swim with the wild dolphins of Ponta Do Ouro, but under strict supervision of founder Angie Gullan.
When tourists arrive at the dolphin hut in the town of Ponta Do Ouro, the morning is early and the sun is just barely breaking out from below the horizon. This is when the briefing occurs and visitors learn about the importance of dolphins in the ecosystem, dolphin facts and the natural history of the dolphins that live off the coast and, more importantly, visitors are taught how to respect these animals and the rules of engagement for successful interactions.
Unlike most dolphin interactions, the Dolphin Research Center Mozambique has no fences, visitors are not allowed to touch the dolphins, the dolphins are free to come and go as they please and dolphins are not rewarded with food for their encounters. The time spent with dolphins is decided by the dolphins and when they have had enough, they simply swim out into the ocean. "Every time we take our boat out there, every-time we try and swim with them we do create a certain level of stress! Our job is to limit that stress and this we do through DolphinCare's Code of conduct. No feeding, touching, chasing or diving down is our philosophy as is respecting a one boat & two drop policy." - Angie
Angie has been instrumental in developing the appropriate code of conduct when interacting with the dolphins and her center is the only one of its kind allowed to operate in the area. In addition to partnering with local conservation organizations, the Dolphin Research Center Mozambique also works with the World Cetacean Alliance and has its very own dolphin identification database created by collected images of dorsal fins. They have one of the largest datasets in Africa regarding these incredible marine mammals.
To learn more about the center and to arrange a visit, go to http://www.dolphincenter.org/about