First breath of air, on the Tejo river this morning

Delight as Tejo tourists witness birth of dolphin

“We were just lucky!”

Tourists on a dolphin-watch boat ride of the Tejo river today got the best trip imaginable: they witnessed the birth of a dolphin, just metres away.

With engines turned off, the whole episode was filmed on mobile phones and has since found its way onto social media.

“We were just lucky”, said sailor/ guide Bernardo Queiroz. “We go out for dolphin tours every day. The boat had already left, but two clients arrived late”, so he jumped into another boat, the idea being to take the latecomers to join the others.

“That’s when we noticed a dolphin on its own. We watched, thinking it strange, and suddenly we saw a trail of blood. We thought it was hurt” he told TSF Rádio. But it wasn’t only unhurt, it was in the process of giving birth.

The next onlookers knew, a much smaller dolphin had made its appearance, breaking the surface of the water for the first time.

The mother was still expelling the placenta… very calmly, says Queiroz, and then it was all over: the pair swam off and those left behind simply marvelled at the ‘other world’ out there, so near and yet so far from the lunacy we have all created.

natasha.donn@portugalresident.com