Dolphins familiar visitors to Otago Harbour

A black-backed seagull appears to watch a pod of bottlenose dolphins as they swim near Vauxhall yesterday morning. Photos by Stephen Jaquiery.
A black-backed seagull appears to watch a pod of bottlenose dolphins as they swim near Vauxhall yesterday morning. Photos by Stephen Jaquiery.
A pod of bottlenose dolphins which attracted the attention of motorists on Portobello Rd are no strangers to Dunedin waters, experts say.

The pod was first spotted near Broad Bay last Wednesday and had since been seen near the area on Monday evening and yesterday morning.

University of Otago zoologist and dolphin advocate Prof Liz Slooten said the pod had a particularly large home range.

''Our students have identified the same individuals here and around Stewart Island.''

New Zealand Whale and Dolphin Trust member Tom Brough said he was able to identify a dolphin with nicks on its fin as having been previously sighted in Akaroa and Dusky Sound.

The pod had been nicknamed the ''southern crew'', he said.

Bottlenose dolphins visited Otago Harbour about four times a year, Prof Slooten said.

It was important people did not attempt to feed them or use fishing gear near them.

It was likely the pod would spend more of the summer in the harbour foraging, Prof Slooten said.

margot.taylor@odt.co.nz

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