Bottlenose dolphins off the coast of Western Australia are stealing the spotlight from Aussie surfers, and are proving that humans aren’t the only ones capable of catching that perfect wave.
Researcher David Riggs set out to document sharks with his camera-equipped quadrocopter, but stumbled upon something entirely different: a pod of bottlenose dolphins off the shores of Esperance in Western Australia, riding the waves like seasoned pros. The footage captures the dolphins strategically waiting for the swell to build before riding along the wave, and then eventually frolicking and leaping out of the water. According to Riggs, the dolphins are teaching their young how to forage in this video, but it’s possible the pod is just enjoying one of Australia’s best offerings: perfect waves along beautiful beaches.
Bottlenose dolphins are known for traveling in social groups and communicating with each other through a complex system of squeaks and whistles, so it’s no surprise the pod caught on camera is so large and interactive. The species is threatened by overfishing, entanglement in fishing gear like nets, and ocean pollution, and the National Marine Fisheries Service recently conducted a population status review to determine whether several subpopulations are warranted for protection under the Endangered Species Act.
Check out the video below to see the dolphins in action.