New ABC documentary shines a light on dolphin hand feeding in WA

Dolphins: Is our love too deep
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Could we be loving dolphins to death?

That’s the question posed by a new documentary that’s now available for streaming on the ABC iView app, alongside a raft of groundbreaking new films examining Australia’s environment, including Tim Winton’s love letter to the Coral Coast, Ningaloo Nyinggulu.

In the investigative environmental film Dolphins: Is Our Love Too Deep, director Leighton De Barros shines a light on popular hand-feeding tourism programs in Australia at Monkey Mia and Bunbury in Western Australia, along with Moreton Bay and Tin Can Bay, in Queensland.

In some cases, the hand feeding programs that bring in millions of tourism dollars each year to these regions has caused a range of problems including high calf mortality, aggressive behaviour rates and reduced survival rates in the wild.

“We have some of the world’s leading marine scientists and cetacean experts engaged as on on-screen contributors,” says De Barros.

“In particular, access to Dr Janet Mann from Georgetown University, Washington, who [is] the leader of the longest behavioural studies on dolphins in the world, which has been undertaken in Shark Bay, Western Australia.”

De Barros was keen to explore the relationship between the dolphins and eco-tourism, local governments and us as humans, simply seeking a deeper connection to the natural environment.

“Already, the knowledge that this film is being researched and written has caused a stir in the scientific community and tourism industry involved with the subject matter,” De Barros continues.

“I believe the issue comes down to economics being put ahead of animal welfare…

“This has driven me to make this film and present a balanced debate, to the public, so people can be made aware, educated, informed and actions can be taken, ultimately, so decisions can be made with the animal’s welfare first and utmost in mind.”

You can stream Dolphins: Is Our Love Too Deep? on the ABC iView App now.

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