AMAZING footage captured by Mandurah Dolphin Rescue Group shows a wild dolphin giving birth – the first time such an event has been recorded in Australia.
The dolphin, named Squarecut, was spotted by a Mandurah Cruises tour guide on Wednesday (April 11), who became concerned the animal was injured or unwell.
They moved the boat closer and Squarecut swam to the vessel and turned on her side, which revealed the tail of a calf.
The birth took one-and-a-half hours, with the newborn’s first breath and first interaction with its mother captured on film.
Only a handful of people around the world have witnessed a dolphin giving birth in the wild.
Mandurah Dolphin Research Project team member Martin Van Aswegen said it was rare to witness a free-ranging dolphin give birth in the wild, as the mothers will typically avoid humans and distance themselves, given the sensitive nature of the event and the vulnerability of the mother and calf.
“It is quite incredible that we know the precise time of birth of a wild dolphin – this just doesn’t happen when dealing with free-ranging dolphins,” he said.
“The mother Squarecut is a well-known Mandurah dolphin.
“She is regularly seen surfing alongside boats, especially across the Peel Inlet and into the Serpentine and Murray Rivers where she spends most of her time.
“The familiarity of the Mandurah Cruises tour boat meant Squarecut was comfortable enough to be in labour around it.”
The calf captured being born on the film has been named Pom-Pom, as chosen by crew on board.
This latest birth is part of a dolphin baby boom happening in Mandurah.
Incredibly, over the past three months, the region has welcomed 11 newborn dolphins, including six Mandurah Estuary calves, one Dawesville Cut calf and four Mandurah coastal calves.
A newborn dolphin generally stays by its mother’s side for up to three years, suckling her milk for the first 18 months.
This provides a unique opportunity for visitors to Mandurah, and locals, to view baby dolphins learning and foraging in their natural environment.
Current dolphin activity is further heightened due to the mating season, which has attracted a greater number of active males to the area.
Together with the start of the salmon run, this produces scenes of spectacular surfing, high flying and unusual foraging methods.