Friendly dolphins ‘missing’ human interaction amid COVID-19 pandemic, bringing gifts from the sea

A pod of dolphins in Australia has been bringing their human friends gifts from the sea during the coronavirus pandemic.

Typically, patrons of Queensland‘s Barnacles Café & Dolphin Feeding wait in line to give treats to the humpback dolphins of Tin Can Bay, 7NEWS reports.

But given the spread of COVID-19 and the lockdown procedures in place, the café has seen no visitors for quite some time.

Photos shared to the café’s official Facebook page show two dolphins with “gifts” on their noses. Some of the deep-sea treasures include barnacles, old bottles and pieces of coral.

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“The pod has been bringing us regular gifts, showing us how much they’re missing the public interaction and attention,” the post reads. “They are definitely missing you all.”

Luckily, restrictions in the area have been easing, and patrons are allowed to visit once more.

“One male dolphin brings in objects on his rostrum, or beak, and then he carefully presents them to us,” Lyn McPherson, a volunteer at the café, told ABC News. “What we have to do is give him a fish in return.

“We haven’t trained him, but he has trained us to do this.”

Mystique, a 29-year-old dolphin, has been doing most of the gift-bearing, she said.

“We swear he has a collection waiting to bring us.”

While it’s heartwarming to believe the dolphins have truly been missing their two-legged pals, it’s unlikely that it’s the reason for the gift-giving, a University of Queensland doctorate student told 7NEWS.

“Nothing surprises me with dolphins and their behaviour anymore,” Barry McGovern said. “In all likelihood, they probably don’t miss humans per se. They probably miss a free meal and the routine.”

It’s not just humans missing their normal routines, after all.

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Coronavirus pandemic leaves Churchill’s tourism sector ‘vulnerable’: mayor

Churchill is faring pretty well amid the coronavirus pandemic, but there are concerns for the community’s tourism sector, according to the mayor.

“We’re a tourism destination, so there’s no doubt there’s going to be a real impact on our community and Manitoba’s economy,” Michael Spence said Wednesday.

“Our sector is vulnerable and we’re concerned about the upcoming beluga season and also the bear season.”

Spence says the town is having ongoing discussions with partners in the industry and the government, and expects to see government support programs for the sector soon.

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Despite concerns for the local economy, Spence says the province’s decision to restrict travel north of the 53rd parallel was a necessary measure to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

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