The desire to encounter and interact with free-ranging marine mammals such as dolphins, whales, seals, sea lions is intensifying in many tourist locations around the world. Get to know everything about this sea animals and how they impact with us - humans.
Tourists are increasingly seeking out interactions with marine mammals, including various cetacean species (whales, dolphins and porpoises) and pinnipeds (sea lions and seals). These interactions can take place in captivity, semi-captivity or in the wild. In the wild, such encounters tend to take place within the context of a scuba-diving session or, increasingly, as part of a specialist 'swim-with' boat tour. During such tours, participants are usually equipped with snorkel, mask and fins, and then dropped into the water alongside the animals. Marine mammal research tells that a number of negative impacts on the behavior and physiology of marine mammals are thought to result from these activities and, in some parts of the world, various regulations and codes of conduct have been introduced in an attempt to manage such interactions.
The Whale and Dolphin Conservation Society (WDCS), a major non-government organization interested in the conservation of cetacean species and based in the UK, does not condone tour programmes that offer diving and swimming with dolphins and whales and nor does it include such tours on its list of recommended cetacean swim-with industry tour operators.
Swimming with seals can be an integral part of a dolphin-swim tour because both encounter and success rates for seal swims tend to be more reliable. Sometimes encounter and swim success rates are even 100% for seals.