Southend tour boat operator Gavin Erikson said a local dolphin that follows his boat around, Ono, was distraught that her eldest son became entangled in 20 plastic bags and drowned, but Ono’s anguish turned to delight upon finding that the 20 bags were worth £1.
Erikson said the word must have got round other dolphins as there was a spate of groundings as dolphins tried to wriggle up Southend beach in an attempt to reach the plastic bags at the waterfront Tescos.
Performing dolphins also appear to be caught up in plastic bag fever as staff at the Antibes Marineland in the South of France report that dolphins will no longer do tricks for fish alone. Talented dolphins are requiring at least 10 plastic bags before they will attempt a triple somersault ball grab.
Dolphin behaviour expert Dr Jill Socko of Harold speculates that now that dolphins realise that humans consider that their lives are worth something, albeit a modest 5p, there could be further attempts to monetise their suffering.
“Reports are coming in of dolphins flirting with tuna nets in the hope of a pay-off. Other dolphins are seeking out oil slicks in the delightfully naïve belief that because oil companies have deep pockets, they will front up with some money” said Dr Socko.
Conservation group Greenpeace has responded to developments by sending staff out in boats to try to collect donations from some of the wealthier dolphins.
So far the dolphins’ response has been ‘ing, ong, ing’ which is apparently dolphin-speak for ‘piss off smelly sponging hippy’.