uShaka Sea World celebrates International Dolphin Day

Senior animal care specialistKelly de Klerk with Gambit

uShaka Sea World’s legendary dolphin, Gambit and his family inspire and empower people to care for the oceans and the environment. Although he does this every day, on International Dolphin Day he received welcome attention from the media who carried his inspirational message beyond the borders of uShaka Marine World to the wider South African public.

Gambit is  believed to be the largest  bottlenose dolphin in any oceanarium in the world. He is a true ocean ambassador and has helped us share a message of conservation with millions of people in a way that no human can.

Although the population of dolphins along the KwaZulu-Natal coast is currently stable, all marine animals are under threat from human activities, one of which is plastic pollution.

Dolphins see plastic as something to play with and as exploration is primarily by mouth, plastic could inadvertently end up in their stomachs.

It would make an enormous difference if all South Africans took responsibility for the impact their actions have on the environment by simply discarding litter responsibly, saying no to single-use plastic bags and recycling wherever possible.


In KwaZulu-Natal, we’re exceptionally lucky to have thousands of dolphins swimming in our waters. These intelligent animals, with their playful antics and endearing personalities, have been enchanting locals and visitors along the coastline for years.  Soon autumn will begin to fade and winter will arrive and with it the annual Sardine Run. 

During this time there are often about 3 000 bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops aduncas) extending their migratory range into southern KwaZulu-Natal – with some pods exceeding 1 000 animals at any one time, all passing close to shore.

While there are various species inhabiting southern African waters, we generally only see the bottlenose dolphins and the common dolphins (Delphinus capensis).

So next time you're at the grocery store simply say “No thank you, I have brought my own shopping bag”, when offered a plastic bag.  Not only will you be reducing the amount of plastic in the world but you'll be helping to save the lives of marine creatures such as the dolphin.

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