It’s the annual dolphin count! Tomorrow, July 16, members of the National Aquarium’s Marine Animal Rescue Program will be along the coast of Ocean City, Maryland, counting dolphins. Staff and volunteers will spend a few hours on the beach watching the water for passing dolphins and filling out data sheets. Teams will be stationed on the beaches at 40th Street and 130th Street and at Assateague State Park. There will also be a vessel-based team aboard an Ocean City Coast Guard boat.
Why are we counting dolphins? Annual dolphin counts help marine mammal specialists gather long-term information about dolphin populations, reproduction rates and ocean health. We have learned that bottlenose dolphins use Maryland waters as a thoroughfare for migration, summertime breeding and feeding along the way. Looking at population numbers over the years can help to determine the health of the coastal ecosystem, as well as the abundance of prey. With your help, we will continue to gather and analyze this information and learn more about the state of our waters and the dolphin populations that are found off our coast.
There are two ways to join in the fun: 1. Find us on the beach! If you are in the Ocean City area tomorrow from 9 a.m. to noon, look for our Aquarium teams in blue at 40th Street and 130th Street. Bring your binoculars and help us count dolphins. 2. Enter our dolphin count contest! Think you know how many dolphins we will spot tomorrow? Text “count” and your guess to 30644 and you could win a pair of tickets to the Aquarium. (Msg and data rates apply.) The contest will end at 1 p.m. ET on Friday. The official count and winners will be announced here, so please check back.
Good luck and happy counting!