Name baby dolphin and win passes

By CHRIS LYNCHchrisl@gladstoneobserver.com.au

A BABY dolphin has been frequenting Gladstone Harbour, and now you have the chance to name the special little tourist.

Laura Bacon has come all the way from Salford University in the UK to monitor the infant, as well as a pod of up to seven dolphins who regularly take excursions near Auckland Creek.

'The baby one is really quite small, so I'd guess it's between 12 and 18 months old,' Ms Bacon said.

She said appearances were sporadic, however it had been seen often at Patsy Lee Place near Players International Nightclub in recent days.

The baby's mother has already been named Hook because of a hook-like appearance to her dorsal fin. Others include Patch, who has a white patch on its fin and Nic who seems to have lost a portion of its fin, perhaps to a propeller.

There's also one named Quasi, after Quasimodo from the Hunchback of Notre Dame.

However, Ms Bacon said Hook and her youngster tended to keep to themselves.

'They do socialise with the pod but the others are immature and play a bit too aggressively for them,' she said.

Ms Bacon said while in the harbour, the pod fed on prawns, pelagics and bottom-feeding fish.

She said their movements made it difficult to pinpoint an ideal viewing time.

'Sometimes they stay for five hours, some times they come in for five minutes and leave,' she said. "You just don't know.'

Ms Bacon will continue studying the pod and eventually erect signage so people can know all their names. A family pass to Gladstone cinemas will go to the winning entry.

To enter e-mail chrisl@gladstoneobserver.com.au or write your suggestion and contact details on the back of an envelope and post it to Name the Dolphin Competition, The Observer, PO Box 351, Gladstone, 4680.



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