Australian Risso Dolphin

A very exciting day sighting Risso Dolphins in the Perth Canyon! The first time we have sighted them in the Perth Canyon and we were completely surrounded with over one hundred individuals. Sightings of Risso Dolphins in Australian waters are not overly common making todays interaction very special indeed. The unique body scarring caught our attention straight away as only 4-8 individuals approached tentatively at first, understandably a little bit shy. Respecting them and keeping a nice reactionary distance as we do with all of our interactions resulted in a trust being built between ourselves and these beautiful Risso. Their confidence built quickly as they understood we were just as curious about them as they were towards us and within a few minutes their approaches became closer and closer. Lovely smiling Risso faces looked back up at us as they tilted their bodies to get a better view of everyone looking back at them and it was only the large amount of white water a few hundred meters ahead that distracted ourselves and these Risso… the rest of the pod had arrived! Surging in at top speed they were breaching to communicate to the dozens of other Risso who were all travelling in the same direction.

A few minutes was all it took before our eight individuals grew to over one hundred as mothers, calves, males and juveniles surrounded our vessel. The new arrivals picked up on the relaxed energy of the Risso we had been travelling with and knowing we weren’t a danger they did not hesitate to approach and check us out straight away. Excitement was all around as spectacular surface activity could be sighted from only a few meters from our bow to out on the horizon as the Language of the Whales™ was in full display. The unique body scarring is caused mainly due to the prey of the Australian Risso Dolphin which is believed to be predominantly squid. Looking closely at the images you may even notice the healed bite marks of squid beaks and rake marks, some of this scarring is also caused with teeth interactions amongst other Risso. They are just beautiful to observe and one of the most unique cetaceans in Australian waters, affectionately nicknamed “Rissoles” by our onboard photographer Stormy! Oil slicks were sighted later on in the afternoon as our busy Rissoles were successfully hunting and enjoying  their meals out in the Perth Canyon. A very special day to have the opportunity to meet some of the Australian Risso Dolphin and observe their most spectacular surface activity and curious behaviour.

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