There has apparently been a spate of brutal shark attacks on some of the dolphins at Monkey Mia, Australia – the area is known for close interaction between the dolphins and tourists, first attracting global attention in the 1970s.
Up to five habituated dolphins visit Monkey Mia daily and are hand-fed fish from the beach, three have been badly bitten by sharks in recent weeks. One of the older female dolphins named Surprise has a large wound to her head, and locals believe the blame partly lays with an influx of fishermen to the state’s coast who use blood and large baits to attract and catch sharks. The group of dolphins that visit the beach daily are part of the 2000-3000 dolphins in the broader area. There are several locations around Australia where wild dolphins are hand-fed by tourists who pay a daily charge to participate in this activity however, Marine Connection does not condone this activity. Feeding wild dolphins means some become less willing to hunt for themselves and may not teach their young the vital hunting skills required for their continued survival, they also lose their fear of humans through habituation. Humans are also at risk of injury from dolphins as artificially fed dolphins can become aggressive if they do not receive the food they have come to associate with human visitors.