The young learn proper social rules by playing amongst themselves and adults
We saw LOTS of play behavior and some social jockeying by the 6 younger males: Hector, Ritchie, and French in one group and Jack, Ken and Anthony in the second group. For the second group, at least one mom was never too far from the calves’ rolling and rubbing and chasing. Mrs. Beasley kept an eye on French as he played with Hector and Ritchie; she often inserted herself between me and the three of them as they charged forward. I am sure I will be politely asking Mrs. B to move out of the way when I analyze these tapes during the winter months.
Play is a time when young animals learn and practice social skills they will need as adults. It is also a “safe” time for them to establish friendships with other dolphins. In some dolphin groups (e.g., Monkey Mia, Sarasota Bay), males will form friendships that last a lifetime. It was fun to watch and record as these dolphins played … and ignored the camera, for the most part. I found myself swimming backwards often. This is not always an easy task but some how I manage, especially when three dolphins engaged in rough and tumble play are charging my way.
We had a session with Gracie with the pec pac and Mosart tag – she wore it for 15 minutes and I only lost sight of her twice during the 15-minute session. This means more data for Christer and for me.