Protect Our Dolphins

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THE Port River dolphins are under threat in their own sanctuary.

Speeding boats are one of the biggest dangers to these special locals – the world’s only wild tailwalkers and believed to the the only wild dolphins living within city limits.

Messenger Community News has launched the Protect Our Dolphins (POD) campaign in a bid to keep them safe in their own home. With the support of the Whale and Dolphin Conservation Society, we are starting a petition that calls on the State Government to introduce a blanket speed limit of 10 knots throughout the Adelaide Dolphin Sanctuary in a bid to stop these tragedies.

At the moment, the limit ranges wildly from four knots to unlimited – a situation that has been described as “inappropriate” for a designated dolphin sanctuary.

Despite this season’s baby boom – the highest for the Port River dolphins in nearly a decade – only three out of seven calves have survived.

The others are suspected of being hit and killed by speeding boats.

An autopsy confirmed a two-week-old calf, Holly, was killed by a boat in January.

That same report by the South Australian museum found that 17 out of 35 dolphin fatalities in the past 13 years were caused by speeding boats.

Holly is the only deceased calf to be recovered so far and have her death confirmed as being the result of being hit by a boat.

However, other than pollution – which is likely to contribute to the high mortality rate in the Port River – boat strikes are by far the most probable cause of dolphin death.

A speedboat club operates within the Adelaide Dolphin Sanctuary at Garden Island.

The sanctuary was declared in 2005 as a protected zone for the dolphins.

It extends 118 sq km and includes Garden Island, Barker Inlet, Outer Harbor and North Haven marinas and up north to Port Gawler.

POD is calling on the government to make the dolphins’ home a sanctuary by name and nature.