People usually line up to feed the school of humpback dolphins at the Barnacles Café and Dolphin Feeding in Esplanade Tin Can Bay, Queensland, Australia. But because of COVID-19 lockdown, the café has been closed for weeks, which means no one was feeding the dolphins.
So the dolphins are bringing gifts of sea sponges, barnacle-encrusted bottles and pieces of coral so that the humans would return.
On May 18, 2020, the café posted this on their Facebook page:
The [dolphin] pod has been bringing us regular gifts, showing us how much they’re missing the public interaction and attentionSince the restrictions have eased we have been able to reopen the dolphin feeding & cafe.Put a smile on someone’s face and come spend some time an feed these beautiful creatures, they are definitely missing you all
But Barry McGovern, a wet-blanket “expert” in dolphin behavior, is dubious. He told 7NEWS.com.au that it’s possible but unlikely the dolphins are trying to express that they miss humans.
McGovern, a University of Queensland PhD student, said:
“Nothing surprises me with dolphins and their behavior anymore. They do everything — they use tools, they have culture, they have something similar to names in signature whistles. In all likelihood, they probably don’t miss humans per se. They probably miss a free meal and the routine. They might be displaying a play-like behavior, or just acting out of boredom.”