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Latest dolphins news and updates

Money Matters - Simplified


Humans can be put to shame by dolphins, elephants and apes with their sheer intelligence

Humans have the opportunity to learn not only from our primates; but also from dolphins, dogs and elephants as they exhibit immense brain power.

Study: Stranded dolphins often deaf

Washington -- U.S. researchers say dolphins found weakened or dead near shore often have one thing in common -- they are nearly deaf.

University of South Florida scientists say in a marine world where hearing is as vital as sight dolphins unable to use sound to locate food or find family members often wind up weak and disoriented, The Washington Post reported Monday.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration says 1,200 to 1,600 whales and dolphins are found stranded off the U.S. coast each year.
Without the ability to hear sounds, researchers say, dolphins can be helpless.

Palau declares its oceans a sanctuary

Nagoya, Japan -- One of Japan's closest allies, the Republic of Palau, says it is declaring all its oceans, more than 230,000 square miles, a marine sanctuary.

The announcement was made by Palau's minister of environment at the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity in Nagoya, Japan, Inter Press Service reported Sunday.

"There will be no hunting or harassment of marine mammals and other species in our waters," Harry Fritz, minister of the environment, natural resources and tourism, said.

"We urge other nations to join our efforts to protect whales, dolphins and other marine animals," Fritz said.

Aussie dolphins seen 'walking' on water

Adelaide, Australia -- Wild dolphins in Australia have been observed teaching themselves to "walk on water" by furiously paddling upright on their tail flukes, scientists say.

Six dolphins have been seen mastering the technique in a rare example of animals "culturally transmitting" a playful rather than foraging behavior, researchers say.

Only a handful species are known to create their own culture, defined as the sharing or transmitting specific novel behaviors or traditions among a community of animals, the BBC reported.

Mixed dolphin groups change how they talk

San Juan -- Two distinct species of dolphins with separate calls and sounds seem to attempt to find a common language when they come together, a U.S. researcher says.

Bottlenose and Guyana dolphins, two distantly related species, often come together to socialize in waters off the coast of Costa Rica, and although each species normally makes distinct, different sounds, they change the way they communicate when together and begin using an intermediate language, the BBC reported Thursday.

Biologist Laura May-Collado of the University of Puerto Rico in San Juan made the discovery while studying dolphins swimming in Costa Rica's Gandoca-Manzanillo Wildlife Refuge off the country's southern Caribbean coast.

Scientists ponder dolphin mystery

Victoria, British Columbia -- Canadian scientists say they are puzzled why dolphins, which normally stay in offshore waters, are showing up close to shore and in inlets on Vancouver Island.

Dolphins started moving closer to land in the mid-1980s but the reason is still unknown, researchers said. It could have been a result of a food shortage or changing water temperatures.

"They just keep increasing," Echo Bay, British Columbia, resident Billy Proctor told the Vancouver Sun. "I guess their population is probably exploding because there's tons of babies everywhere. I don't think they're supposed to be here."

Proctor said he sees hundreds of them daily hanging out close to shore.

Warmer seas may be changing dolphin spread

London -- A change in the kinds of dolphins being spotted in the waters off northeastern England could be caused by warmer seas, researchers say.

A survey by the North East Cetacean Project found increased sightings of common, bottlenose and Risso's dolphins, all species associated with warmer water, the BBC reported Sunday.

A simultaneous drop in the number of sightings of white-beaked dolphins and harbor porpoises, which prefer colder water, has been reported, scientists say.

"This research adds to the growing body of evidence that some species of whales and dolphins are showing shifts in distribution, possibly as a result of increasing sea temperatures," Dr. Tom Brereton, who analyzed the findings, says.

Amazon dolphins being killed off

Brasillia -- The pink dolphins of the Amazon are threatened with extinction from Brazilian fisherman killing them to use their flesh as bait, scientists say.

Researchers estimate 1,500 dolphins are being killed every year in the western Amazon to drive a lucrative trade in catfish, The Daily Telegraph reported Saturday.

Using the flesh from just one killed dolphin as bait, fishermen can catch up to 1,000 pounds of catfish worth almost $500, nearly double Brazil's monthly minimum wage, the newspaper said.

"The population of the river dolphins will collapse if these fishermen are not stopped from killing them," said Vera da Silva of the government's Institute of Amazonian Research.

Dolphins trade G Smiley to Jaguars

Miami -- The Miami Dolphins have traded guard Justin Smiley to the Jacksonville Jaguars for a late-round pick, sources told The Miami Herald Monday.

The newspaper cited unnamed sources saying the deal was completed Friday after Coach Bill Parcells had advised Smiley not to report to an off-season workout program due to the impending transaction.

The trade, however, is reportedly contingent on Smiley passing a physical, which may be a problem due to his ailing shoulder. The injury was what prompted the Dolphins to seek a trade in the first place, the sources said.

The shoulder also had bothered Smiley when he was with the San Francisco 49ers in 2008.

Dolphins can turn on, turn off diabetes

San Diego -- Dolphins can induce diabetes when food is scarce and turn it off when food is abundant, said California scientists looking for a cure for humans.

The unique ability may result from a dolphin's need to maintain high blood sugar levels for its large brain -- an ability possibly lost by humans through evolution, said Stephanie Venn-Watson, a veterinary epidemiologist at the National Marine Mammal Foundation in San Diego.

"It is our hope that this discovery can lead to novel ways to prevent, treat and maybe even cure diabetes in humans," said Venn-Watson, who made the discovery while researching dolphins off the coast of Southern California.