A stampede of about 300 dolphins surprised whale watchers earlier this week off the coast of southern California.
Video captured by Capt. Dave’s Dolphin & Whale Watching Safari shows an incredible display of hundreds of dolphins porpoising out of the water off the coast of Dana Point, south of Los Angeles.
“It is not known exactly what causes common dolphins to stampede,” Capt. Dave’s wrote in the video posting. “It's thought that the dolphins could be evading a predator such as orcas, racing to catch a food source, or meeting up with another pod of dolphins. Dolphin stampedes can happen without warning or anything frightening them. They are not scared of the boat.”
Southern California is known as one of the world’s best spots for dolphin watching, with the greatest density of dolphins per square mile in the world, the video's caption noted. The area is home to about 450,000 common dolphins, like the kind captured in this video. Dana Point specifically is home to mega-pods of dolphins that can be seen in herds of up to 10,000.
The whale watching expedition caught the spectacular sight of hundreds of dolphins porpoising together. Porpoising is the fastest way for dolphins to get around because there is less resistance in the air than in the water. If you look closely in the video, you’ll be able to see baby dolphins jumping alongside their mothers in the herd.
This time of year is known for spotting a greater number of baby dolphins.
Dolphin stampedes are not altogether uncommon, especially in southern California. Last year, in late July, whale watchers spotted a similar stampede off the coast of Laguna Beach.
But if you’re unable to get to southern California at this time of year, there may be a new option in the future. A robotics company in New Zealand is developing $26 million robotic dolphins that could be indistinguishable from the real thing.
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