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Issues and threats
: While the dolphins' image is generally positive, commercial fishermen sometimes consider them as competitors, saying dolphins eat their own weight of fish every day. Tuna fishermen, especially, have become notorious for their conflict with dolphins - in the past, they were said to deliberately drown about 300,000 dolphins a year in their nets, and stopped the practice only when confronted by a horrified and indignant public.

 

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Friendly and intelligent

There are more than 60 species belonging to the family Delphinidae, the largest family of cetaceans. Of those that are commonly referred to as "dolphins" (others are called "whales"), seven have been documented in the Philippines, according to a Silliman University report. These are the Spinner dolphin (Stenella longirostris), Pantropical spotted dolphin (S. attenuata), Fraser's dolphin (Lagenodelphis hosei), Bottlenosed dolphin (Tursiops truncatus), Rough-toothed dolphin (Steno bredanensis), Striped dolphin (S. coeruleoalba), and Risso's dolphin (Grampus griseus). Another species is, the Indo-Pacific Humpback dolphin, is not in the Silliman report but appears on the Department of Environment and Natural Resources' list of endangered marine animals.

Dolphins are among the most well-loved creatures of the sea, thanks in part to stories about dolphins rescuing drowning people and movies such as the Flipper series which depict dolphins as man's friendly and intelligent allies of the sea. Such stories endure in many cultures, as drowning survivors' tales are handed down from generation to generation. The Saddleback dolphin is a central character in a Greek tale about a boy who rode a dolphin to and from school each day. It is also a widely known fact that dolphins aid other dolphins, keeping them afloat when they are in danger of drowning. They generally travel in schools and may help each other in fighting off enemies, sometimes killing large sharks by ramming them repeatedly, or even, as some theories suggest, using bursts of sound to stun fish or other prey.

Issues and threats: While the dolphins' image is generally positive, commercial fishermen sometimes consider them as competitors, saying dolphins eat their own weight of fish every day. Tuna fishermen, especially, have become notorious for their conflict with dolphins - in the past, they were said to deliberately drown about 300,000 dolphins a year in their nets, and stopped the practice only when confronted by a horrified and indignant public.

While the situation is much improved, man's conflict with dolphins persists in some places. Ironically, dolphins are being killed after leading fishermen to big tuna schools. For some reason, dolphins and tuna are often found together, although neither feeds on the other.


Scientific name: Sousa chinensis

Common names:
Indo-pacific Humpback dolphin
Distinguishing marks or features: Light-colored body, with a distinctive "humpback"

Food:
There are persistent rumors that this species is a vegetarian but, in fact, it feeds on fish.

Protection efforts: Fisheries Administrative Order No. 185, Series of 1992, prohibits the taking, catching, selling, purchasing, possessing, transporting and exporting of cetaceans belonging to the family Delphinidae.

 

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