For the love of dolphins with Angie Gullan on the Sustainable Jungle Podcast #sustainablejungle

Podcast #33 · Angie Gullan · For The Love Of Dolphins, Mozambique

“We want to have amazing encounters with wild dolphins, we don’t want to go to captive facilities, we want to create environments in the wild where it is safe for them to come and encounter us, because THEY want to.”

Angie Gullan

“South African, Angie Gullan developed Africa’s first structured wild dolphin swim program in 1996 after a two year pilot study in Ponta do Ouro, Mozambique. Under the supervision of Dr Vic Cockroft (The Centre of Dolphin Studies SA), Dr Almeida Guissamulo (The Natural History Museum of University Eduardo Mondlane) & Dr Vic Peddemors (Natal Sharks Board) a set of standard operating procedures were developed that included the implementation of a dolphincare code of conduct with data collection. Angie has worked closely with various governmental institutions in Mozambique to shed light on the importance of ethical marine mammal tourism and the implications of such activities in the area.”

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We visited Mozambique’s small coastal town and beach side paradise, Ponta do Ouro – a spectacularly pristine and beautiful place well known for the incredible diversity of ocean life. We so enjoyed the wildlife, both on land – hello Samango monkeys – and in the water (we saw wild dolphins, incredibly beautiful fish and corals and we spent our evenings watching humpbacks migrate up the coast). At the end of our dreamy week there and a dolphin encountour, we caught up with Angie and discussed the following:

  • Angie’s background, growing up in Southern Africa’s “big smoke”, Johannesburg and her path to making a life in Ponto do Ouro, Mozambique (~01:45)
  • Angie’s first experience with wild dolphins (~02:55)
  • Angie’s most memorable moments with wild dolphins (~04:20)
  • Family dynamics when dolphins give birth (~05:50)
  • How behaviour is changing with adult males in the area (~07:00)
  • How the “Dolphin Smile” is not really a dolphin smile – they are showing their teeth! More on concerning recent behaviour, thoughts on potential causes and ethical engagement with them (~08:50)
  • How Angie has figured out the interpretation of dolphin behaviour, leveraging local and international experience and marine mammal science (~12:00)
  • Industry guidelines for engaging with wild dolphins in the area, how these came to be and their success so far (13:30)
  • What is it about dolphins that drives Angie’s passion (15:20)
  • What is a circle swim? (~16:55)
  • The various arms of Angie’s organisations including Dolphin Care Africa, Dolphin Encountours, the Research Center, The Dolphins of Ponta ID Project (~18:20; ~21:05)
  • How a devastating fire changed things for the dolphin tourism industry in Ponto do Ouro (~20:17)
  • The Dolphins of Ponta ID Project, the photographic ID project that tracks and catalogs dolphins in the area and why it’s important (~21:25)
  • The importance of wild dolphin education (~25:10)
  • Angie’s relationship with Ponta’s wild dolphins today (~27:45)
  • How Ponta do Ouro became a marine reserve in 2009 after Angie started campaigning in 1996, and the diversity of wildlife in the area (~28:30)
  • Measures Angie has taken to make sure that engagement with wild dolphins is sustainable and ethical (~32:00)
  • What keeps Angie up at night – “PLASTIC, PLASTIC, PLASTIC” (~34:40)
  • Ponto do Ouro’s solution to plastic recycling through the NGO, Ponta Kukula (~36:30)
  • Angie’s thoughts on the eco movement, the move against captive facilities and the positive progress in science(~37:25)
  • What’s next for Angie and Dolphin Encountours this year, including plans to expand their volunteer base (~39:30)
  • Angie’s message to the world and one green living tip (~40:35)

“I like to think science has evolved…science is now considering [dolphins] as non-human persons… the new generation of scientists have a lot of heart behind them…”

Angie Gullan

Notable Links

Dolphin Encountours & Research Center:

Ponto do Ouro, Mozambique:

For the love of dolphins with Angie Gullan on the Sustainable Jungle Podcast #sustainablejungle

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