MR COOL: Mystique the Tin Can Bay dolphin brought a pair of sunglasses ashore this morning. Photo Barnacles Cafe & Dolphin Feeding
MR COOL: Mystique the Tin Can Bay dolphin brought a pair of sunglasses ashore this morning. Photo Barnacles Cafe & Dolphin Feeding

Tin Can Bay dolphins add style to gift giving phenomenon

THE Tin Can Bay dolphin pod’s latest phenomenon has continued, but this time with some style points added by alpha male Mystique.

The dolphins made headlines late last month when they brought an increasing amount of “gifts” ashore for volunteer feeders while the Barnacles Cafe and Dolphin Feeding was closed due to the coronavirus pandemic.

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But Mystique took it to a whole new level yesterday morning.

“You had to be here to believe it was happening. Mystique bought a pair of sunglasses in this morning, but he was wearing them!” Barnacles posted on their Facebook page.

“They never cease to amaze us with their cheeky personalities.”

Mystique the Tin Can Bay dolphin brought a pair of sunglasses ashore this morning. Photo Barnacles Cafe & Dolphin Feeding
Mystique the Tin Can Bay dolphin brought a pair of sunglasses ashore this morning. Photo Barnacles Cafe & Dolphin Feeding

Barnacles co-owner Jenny Dunstan previously said the dolphins had always brought objects ashore, but the amount had increased in the absence of feeders.

Mrs Dunstan said volunteers had still been feeding the dolphins after restrictions forced the centre to close in late March.

Both the cafe and the public feedings were able to reopen in a limited capacity late last month as restrictions began to ease across Queensland.

The Barnacles community previously said the gift giving was a sign of the dolphins “missing the human interaction”, but ostdoctoral researcher at Southern Cross University’s Marine Ecology Research Centre Dr Daniele Cagnazzi told The Brisbane Times that “would need to be investigated in more detail”.

“[Dolphin gift giving] is definitely interactive behaviour, but I never saw this behaviour lead to anything other than a social interaction between a male and female dolphin,” Dr Cagnazzi said.

“With dolphin feeding, they are obviously attracted by the food but we don’t know whether they enjoy the interaction with the people feeding them.”

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