Today we had a flashback. For a couple of hours it felt as if we were back in the early 90’s; as if we were back in those good old days when seeing groups of Short-beaked common dolphins performing surface feeding close to shore and seeing them bow-riding our inflatable was no surprise. It felt good, it felt sooooo good!
For the two hours that we followed a group of 6 common dolphins (5 adults and a juvenile) I forgot completely about the drama that this animals are facing in the Inner Ionian Sea Archipelago, where their population has suffered a drastic decline primarily due to overfishing.
Preliminary results of the photo-identification work done today, showed that some of the dolphins we saw this morning are indeed well known to us. Indeed, one of them was first identified in the area of Kalamos island in 1997. The fact that, although very rarely, we still see some of “our common dolphins” visiting their former wonderland suggests that while lack of prey caused by overfishing resulted in habitat loss, decline in numbers and dispersion, common dolphins may re-colonise this area and possibly increase in numbers if timely fisheries management action is taken.
We invite you to have a look at some of the best images we captured today (see gallery below). Enjoy, but do not forget that unfortunately this encounter was far from being “common”. Since 2003 Mediterranean short-beaked common dolphins are classified as Endangered in the IUCN Red List.