Bunbury has welcomed its first baby dolphin of the 2013 breeding season.
Koombana Bay's Dolphin Discovery Centre operation manager Phil Coulthard said the calf was born sometime in the last week to Mrs Iruka, which means dolphin in Japanese.
"We generally expect up to 18 calves to be born during our breeding season which starts in January and ends in May when the increased water temperature triggers the reproductive cycle of females into action."
Mr Coulthard said being born in the warmer months will give the yet-to-be-named baby a better chance of survival.
But Murdoch University researcher Hugh Finn said the calf would still need to contend with a high infant mortality rate.
"We know about a third of the calves don't make it past their first year and about half don't make it until weaning," Dr Finn said.
He said the dolphins were also being seriously injured - sometimes fatally - by boat propellers and fishing lines as a result of people feeding the animals.
"They learn to approach people to beg for fish and that makes then very susceptible to entanglement and boat strikes," he said.
The team from Murdoch University's Cetacean Research Unit have grave fears for a Cockburn Sound dolphin named Fingers after they saw he had become entangled in fishing line last week.
Dr Finn said lines can cause infection and amputation as the line cuts into the animal's body.He encouraged anglers to use biodegradable fishing line rather than the monofilament or plastic variety which takes more than 500 years to decompose.
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