A new relationship with animals, nature and each other.

Dolphin Funeral Procession

Tourists on a whale-watching expedition off the coast of California were hoping for something like a dolphin stampede. Instead, they found themselves witnessing a funeral.

The video shows a mother dolphin carrying a dead calf on her back. The body is already beginning to decompose, suggesting that the mother has been grieving her loss for several days. Other dolphins are close by – doubtless family members with her.

The captain of the boat, Dave Anderson, later said he’d never seen anything quite like this in his 20 years of conducting whale-watching tours.

Did mom start off helping her weak, sick offspring swim to the surface to breathe for days till the tiny dolphin died? When will she give up on her calf? Will she continue carrying her deceased on her back until the carcass begins to disintegrate?

This poor grieving mother dolphin takes us, without words, to a place where, as one of our passengers said in the video, “humans and dolphins are not so different.”

After this boat had returned to shore, the dolphin procession, with the mother still carrying her calf, was spotted by another boat.

While it’s very touching to see this sad event close-up, is this boat just a little too close-up – apparently just a few yards from the dolphins? Couldn’t they back off just a bit? And if the procession is seen by yet another boat a short time later, perhaps we could be a little more respectful and leave the ocean to those who live there.