Protecting Kiawah Island Dolphins

dolphin headWe often hear from our guests that Kiawah Island is their special place, and there is a long list of experiences and qualities that truly do make it special. One of those in particular is our dolphin population.

Kiawah Island is one of the few places in the world to witness a unique feeding behavior called strand feeding, where dolphins rush the beach to hunt fish. In many areas along the Kiawah River, strand feeding can be seen from the water and land. This is fascinating behavior, but dolphins must be given ample space. In the Kiawah River, we know this rare behavior is performed only by a handful of individuals. Disrupting dolphins while feeding can result in stress, reduced success, or abandonment of this behavior altogether.

In order to help ensure we can enjoy these creatures for years to come, we need to respect their natural environment. Please responsibly observe dolphins from a distance, as they will be much more likely to continue their unique strand feeding behavior.

The Marine Mammal Protection Act recommends not approaching dolphins within 50 yards (150 feet) from a vessel (kayaks included) and 10 yards from land (30 feet). Never touch, feed, or encourage animals to approach you or your vessel. When in a vessel, dolphins can approach you; however, do not chase, follow, circle, or separate groups. Continue your direction of travel, slow down, and avoid sudden changes in direction.

Only by continuing to observe these wild creatures from a safe, respectable distance, will we be allowed to enjoy their splendor for generations to come.

The Kiawah Island Golf Resort Nature department offers myriad opportunities to learn more about dolphins and witness their behavior, including boat and kayaking tours, sunset cruises, and educational programs.