They continued bringing gifts even after COVID restrictions eased and everyone thoroughly enjoyed the gifts from these adorable creatures.
The COVID-19 pandemic, which swept the globe in 2020, had a serious impact on the lives of people worldwide. Governments imposed lockdowns and restrictions to contain the spread of the virus, which led to significant social and economic consequences. Among the many challenges people faced during the pandemic, the inability to connect with loved ones was one of the most difficult. However, humans were not the only ones affected by the pandemic. In Queensland, Australia, a group of dolphins also felt the effects of the pandemic and expressed their desire for human interaction.
As the lockdowns continued and the absence of human interaction persisted, the dolphins started to express their longing for the return of visitors to the café, reports My Modern Met. To encourage their human friends to visit them again, the dolphins began showing up at the café with gifts in their mouths. These gifts ranged from sea shells, coral, wood and even a starfish, and the Barnacles Cafe and Dolphin Feeding team was quick to take notice.
Taking to Facebook to share their experience, the Barnacles Cafe team wrote, "The pod has been bringing us regular gifts, showing us how much they're missing the public interaction and attention." The team also shared an array of gifts they had received from the sea creatures, which appeared to come mostly from a then-29-year-old alpha male dolphin called Mystique. Australian outlet ABC reports that Mystique had previously shown up with tokens of appreciation to the feeders and visitors, but this behavior increased during the pandemic.
The volunteers who worked with the dolphins were also moved by their behavior. Lyn McPherson, a volunteer, said in an interview, "One male dolphin brings in objects on his rostrum, or beak, and then he carefully presents them to us. 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." The dolphins would bring up to 21 items at a time, lining them up in hopes of getting a fish in return. If the dolphin dropped a gift too far out, or the workers said, "come on, that's not good enough," the dolphin would get underneath it and bring it to them.
As restrictions began to ease over the summer, visitors were once again allowed to visit the marine park and interact with the dolphins. However, the gift-giving behavior of the dolphins did not stop. In fact, they continued to bring gifts even after the café at the park reopened. Some of the gifts included a sea sponge and a large rock that weighed almost eight pounds. The dolphins' behavior captured the attention of social media and the public, and people around the world were amazed by the intelligence of these marine creatures and their ability to form strong connections with humans. Many people were inspired by the dolphins' gift-giving behavior, and it served as a reminder that even in difficult times, we can find comfort and connection in unexpected places.
The pod of dolphins also grew during this time with the birth of new calves, which added to the joy and excitement of visitors to the marine park. Videos and photos captured the little dolphins swimming with their mothers to the shore, which further reinforced the strong bond between humans and animals. Overall, the gift-giving behavior of the dolphins in Queensland, Australia was a heartwarming and uplifting story during a challenging time. It highlighted the importance of respecting and appreciating the natural world around us and the power of human-animal connections.