Hawaii has no shortage of things to keep tourists visiting and coming back for more. Spinner dolphins are one of these draws, known to be especially entertaining because of their acrobatic nature. These dolphins live in the many bays around the islands, attracting visitors to their homes in an effort to see them during their stay. Unfortunately, the dolphins sleep within these bays, waking up and heading out around dusk. The tourists, in their eagerness to see dolphins while in Hawaii, are keeping these poor creatures from getting a full day’s sleep.
Dolphins are chased from cove to cove as each group of tourists shows up to snorkel or kayak with them. Without sleep, they have a number of problems that can have serious consequences. When tired, dolphins are not able to hunt as effectively, not as skilled at avoiding potential dangers and predators and are less able to communicate with their fellow bay-dwellers.
Hawaii’s challenge is in keeping a balance that will still allow tourists to view the dolphins without endangering their health. Thus, both the dolphins and the tourists can remain happy and continue to bring money to Hawaii without anyone getting hurt.
The solution that scientists are proposing involves first mapping out where the dolphins are most likely to be sleeping and then limiting the amount of traffic to these bays. They would still leave other bays open so that tourists may have a chance to see a spinner dolphin, but if the creature gets upset from having their sleep disturbed and chooses to leave, they have someplace to go where they can get some privacy.
Hopefully, this dilemma can be resolved so that the dolphins will be able to get their necessary sleep without completely banning tourist visits to Hawaii’s bays. There are already enough things for them to deal with that curious humans should be the last of their worries. Perhaps if human beings simply waited until dusk to go looking for dolphins, everyone might be a little bit better off.