In may 2013 we went to the Irish westcoast to meet a local celebrity named Dusty. This female dolphin has been known to interact with people for years. The friendly dolphin phenomenon is actually quite common and subject of debate amongst many dolphin enthusiasts and biologists. Why these animals seek out interaction with people (and in Duggies case even a dog!) is still unkown, but I discovered three main theories for this phenomenon. Also, I learned that most of these friendly dolphins tend to change their behavior as the interactions intensify and become more frequent.
Fungie for example was known to be very friendly upon his arrival in Dingle, but got a worse reputation as time went by and he became a touristic attraction.
See also this blogpost on the friendly dolphin phenomenon!
Note: I do not recommend touching wild animals, they are after all wild. The people in these pictures have build a longstanding relationship with Dusty and the dolphin welcomes them into her world.
Many images of this portfolio were published in my article for DUIKEN magazine: "Dusty, een tuimelaar met attitude".