Humpback Dolphin Brings Gifts From Bottom Of The Ocean In Exchange For Fish
The 29-year-old male dolphin has developed the habit after volunteers at the Barnacles Cafe and Dolphin Feeding Centre began to give him fish in return for the presents he brought them, which include bottles, shells and coral.
He has developed the habit while the cafe has been under lockdown, so with a lack of visitors, he's been trying to sweet talk the volunteers at the centre to bring him more fish.
According to Lyn McPherson, a dolphin feeding volunteer, he had often displayed 'giving behaviour' before, but it had increased while the Tin Can Bay cafe has been shut to tourists during coronavirus.
Speaking to ABC, Lyn said: "One male dolphin brings in objects on his rostrum, or beak, and then he carefully presents them to us.
"What we have to do is give him a fish in return. We haven't trained him, but he has trained us to do this.
"He gets under it [and] if he drops it too far out, or we say 'come on, that's not good enough', then he gets underneath it and brings it to us."
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Other items have included bits of wood and timber.
Lyn added: "We swear he has a collection waiting to bring to us. Since we've been closed to the public he has been doing it more and more. Sometimes he will bring 10, one at a time, and he will line them up as he has to get fish."
According to the news outlet, Mystique is one of seven on the feeding programme. Another of his mates joins him sometimes.
Lyn added: "There is another male but he doesn't seem to do it. He goes with him [Mystique] to find them, and then we have to give him a fish as well."
The feeding programme sees up to 200 tourists visit the centre each day in the school holidays, and having just reopened on 16 May, now that lockdown restrictions have been eased, people can see Mystique in action.
He originally came to the bay in 1991, with what was assumed to be his mum.
Lyn added: "He stands out because he gets raked up fighting with other males.
"He also had a bull shark attack in 2007 and is missing a bit of his tail, and a bit of his dorsal fin."
Featured Image Credit: Barnacles Cafe & Dolphin Feeding