Environmental authorities have breathed a sigh of relief after the birth of two dolphins belonging to the world-renowned Shark Bay pod synonymous with Monkey Mia.
Almost a year after the pod disappeared mysteriously for more than a week, the Department of Environment and Conservation revealed the addition of the two calves, born just days apart.
The older calf, Wirriya, was born to Kiya early this month, and Nicky, the pod's matriarch, gave birth to the younger, yet-to-be-named calf about a week later. The calf is her ninth.
Environment Minister Bill Marmion said the newborns were a sign that the Shark Bay dolphin population was healthy.
He also suggested the calves were bound to be a hit with visitors to Monkey Mia, given more than 80,000 people travelled to the Gascoyne hamlet each year.
However, he sounded a caution, saying baby dolphins had a relatively high mortality rate and DEC staff would be monitoring the pod's progress in coming months.
"The Monkey Mia dolphins are of worldwide significance and it is extremely important that great care is taken to ensure the newborns are given the greatest chance of survival," Mr Marmion said."It will be some time before the calves become accustomed to visitors but there are protocols in place . . . and the interaction sessions will continue to allow visitors to feed the other beach dolphins."
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