Here at the Aquarium we have plenty of incredible things to see right inside our building—but sometimes, if we’re lucky, we get a special treat just off the pier. This past St. Patrick’s Day, some fortunate Aquarium guests had the chance to view a wild bottlenose dolphin cruising through Elliott Bay.
Bottlenose dolphins are not common to our local waters but our friends at Cascadia Research have reported regular sightings of a small group of five to six bottlenose dolphins since September 2017. Members of the Orca Network and Cascadia Research, along with collaborators from California, have been able to identify two of the dolphins that have been photographed as mature females with the nicknames “Miss” and “Stump.”
The two identified females are at least 35 years old and have been observed off the coast of California since the early 1980s. Researchers were able to identify the females using unique nicks and marking on their dorsal fins, similar to the way local researchers are able to identify individual orca whales. While bottlenose dolphins have made brief appearances over the past two decades in Puget Sound, they are not a resident species in our area. In fact, “Miss” and “Stump” are almost 1,000 miles from home, which is the San Francisco Bay Area.
Keep your eyes peeled to help researchers!
Local researchers and volunteers have been trying to spot and photograph the bottlenose dolphins in an attempt to see who is traveling with “Miss” and “Stump.” They need high-quality photographs so they can spot unique identifiers and better understand why the bottlenose dolphins might be traveling so far north.
If you see bottlenose or other species of dolphins anywhere in Puget Sound, please call in your reports to Cascadia Research at (360) 943-7325, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Join us for Marine Mammal Mania!
Dolphins, orcas, sea otters and seals all make us want to celebrate the many incredible species that either visit, or call our region home. Each spring the Aquarium celebrates marine mammal species of all kinds as part of our fun-filled event called Marine Mammal Mania!
The event takes place from April 6–15 and includes hands-on activities, special talks and demonstrations devoted to our many marine mammals.
Visit our website to view the schedule of events. We hope you’ll join us!