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Dolphin Brings Gifts To Volunteers Feeding It After Tourists Stop Visiting

Throughout the world, an increasing number of people are now finding themselves in a precarious position.

It doesn't feel any more safe to go out than it did before, but business owners and governments also acknowledge that many can only isolate themselves for so long before they lose the resources to provide for themselves. And so, we're starting to see lockdown and stay-at-home restrictions that remained in place over the last couple of months lift and ease.

But while many animals took the time to explore the streets while we were off them, it seems that at least one dolphin got even closer to the humans who cared for it while tourists were away.

This charming seaside café in Tin Can Bay, Australia has a theme that also serves as its mission.

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According to Australia's ABC News, the Barnacles Café and Dolphin Feeding center has about seven dolphins in its care that are fed by volunteers.

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Under normal circumstances, this dolphin feeding program can attract as many as 200 tourists a day during peak holiday periods.

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However, it had to close to the public when measures to reduce the spread of COVID-19 came into effect.

According to ABC News, it reopened on May 16 when restrictions eased in Australia.

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In that time, however, the center has seen some new behavior from one 29-year-old dolphin named Mystique.

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He and his mother first came to Tin Can Bay in 1991 and there are a couple of things about him that stood out from the other dolphins.

As volunteer Lyn McPherson said, "He stands out because he gets raked up fighting with other males. He also had a bull shark attack in 2007 and is missing a bit of his tail, and a bit of his dorsal fin."

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But Mystique has also stood out for the "giving behavior" he's apparently shown over the years.

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And it seems that this behavior has only ramped up since tourists stopped being able to visit the feeding center.

Lately, it's taken the form of a series of gifts that he's been bringing to the volunteers each day.

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As we can see here, Mystique finds objects that catch his interest and brings them back on his rostrum or "beak."

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As McPherson said, "What we have to do is give him a fish in return. We haven't trained him, but he has trained us to do this."

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Here we can see some of the items he's brought back, which often include bottles, shells, and pieces of wood.

Facebook | Barnacles Cafe & Dolphin Feeding, Bev Lambert

And the longer that the café was closed to the public, the more gifts Mystique started bringing back.

On some days, he'll bring as many as 10 of these objects and line them up so he can get his fish.

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Although another male will sometimes find stuff with Mystique, none of the other six dolphins have picked up his habit of bringing it back.

Facebook | Barnacles Cafe & Dolphin Feeding, Bev Lambert

Mystique has also learned that if he drops the items too far out, he'll be told that it's not good enough, so he gets underneath the objects again and brings them closer.

As McPherson said, "We swear he has a collection waiting to bring to us."

h/t: ABC News

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