From ANIMAL PEOPLE, Jan/Feb 1997:

University of Queensland PhD. candidate Ilze
Brieze reported in late October, after a year of study, that the
dolphins of Moreton Bay, off Brisbane, Australia, and at the
Australian Sea World are behaviorally unaffected by human
contact, even though the bottlenose dolphins at Sea World
appear to enjoy swimming with humans and being hand-fed.
Studies by other researchers have indicated that the wild dolphins
who interact with humans at Monkey Mia in western
Australia may have become excessively dependent upon handfeeding,
and that one result is dolphin mothers who so fixate
on humans that they neglect their infants. Studying the same
Moreton Bay dolphin population as Brieze, Mark Orams of
Massey University joined her in warning that even when there
are not obvious ill effects from contact, wild dolphins should

be given space if they are to be kept in the area. As Brieze and
Orams spoke, Deborah Tobin of Freeport, Nova Scotia persuaded
nine of the 10 whale-watching vessel operators on Brier
Island, Nova Scotia, to accept a voluntary 10-point code for
observing whales without harrassing them. Whale-watching is
governmentally regulated in the U.S., but not in Canada.
“Somewhere in the future we will probably be faced with this
problem,” says Department of Fisheries and Oceans marine
mammal adviser Jeremy Conway, “but for now it’s really up to
the community to act conscientiously. Only if they cannot do
so will we step in as a government body.” The basic problem
with government regulation is that it also requires government
enforcement, and right now National Marine Fisheries Service
personnel are far outnumbered by whale-watching vessels. In
consequence, the Cox News Service reported on November 17,
tour operators at St. Andrew’s Bay, Florida, have long defied
a 1993 ban on feeding dolphins, with the result that several
local dolphins have become public beggars.

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