Participants on a “Captain Dave’s Dolphin and Whale Watching Safari” off the coast at Dana Point, CA, USA witnessed an emotionally moving form of bottlenose dolphin behavior this week: a deceased dolphin calf was being carried around on the back of an adult bottlenose dolphin. To onlookers, it felt like a kind of funeral procession, in the sea.
“I believe this calf has been dead for many days, possibly weeks,” said Captain Dave. “You can see the flesh is decaying. In my nearly twenty years on the water whale watching I have never seen this behavior. Nor have I ever seen anything quite as moving as this mother who refuses to let go of her poor calf.”