Dolphins Give Birth Off South Africa Coast

BBC Earth

Let our journalists help you make sense of the noise: Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily newsletter and get a recap of news that matters.

This post courtesy BBC Earth. For more wildlife news, find BBC Earth on Facebook and Posterous.

Christmas has come to mean many things to many people, but the holiday started as a celebration of new life. So we thought we’d celebrate new life in nature.

Around this time of year common dolphins of the coast of South Africa make an early new start, with a large number of calves being born. Although they give birth all year round, the female dolphins that don’t give birth in the summer sardine run use the huge food supply to build up reserves and calve in December. So to celebrate this abundance of new life, we’ve decided to share some of our favourite common dolphin videos and images with you.

The coast of South Africa hosts a massive number of common dolphins, around 20,000. They follow shoals of sardines, on which the newborns will be weaned in six months. These dolphins are sociable animals. Travelling in groups of around anywhere between ten and 50 individuals, they gather into huge schools that can number as large as 2,000.

When they do get together, they love to play, breaching, chin-slapping, tail-slapping and porpoising (constantly submerging and resurfacing).

They also love a form of ‘surfing’, known as bow-riding, where they swim or ride the crests of waves. Dolphin-watchers will know this behaviour, as it’s what dolphins do when they follow boats. One theory suggests it started when dolphins started following whales.


Headshot of Editor in Chief of Mother Jones, Clara Jeffery

It sure feels that way to me, and here at Mother Jones, we’ve been thinking a lot about what journalism needs to do differently, and how we can have the biggest impact.

We kept coming back to one word: corruption. Democracy and the rule of law being undermined by those with wealth and power for their own gain. So we're launching an ambitious Mother Jones Corruption Project to do deep, time-intensive reporting on systemic corruption, and asking the MoJo community to help crowdfund it.

We aim to hire, build a team, and give them the time and space needed to understand how we got here and how we might get out. We want to dig into the forces and decisions that have allowed massive conflicts of interest, influence peddling, and win-at-all-costs politics to flourish.

It's unlike anything we've done, and we have seed funding to get started, but we're looking to raise $500,000 from readers by July when we'll be making key budgeting decisions—and the more resources we have by then, the deeper we can dig. If our plan sounds good to you, please help kickstart it with a tax-deductible donation today.

Thanks for reading—whether or not you can pitch in today, or ever, I'm glad you're with us.

Signed by Clara Jeffery

Clara Jeffery, Editor-in-Chief

payment methods

We Recommend