Aww!
Wild dolphin befriends diver and asks him to play fetch
Evan Pender was absolutely shocked by the object the dolphin found to play catch with.
D.G. Sciortino
05.24.22

When Evan Pender goes freediving, he’s out there “keeping it real like a conger eel.”

At least that’s how he explains it on his Instagram page.

It’s probably why he’s friends with a wild dolphin.

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A post shared by Evan Pender (@_evan_pender_)

Pender likes to go diving off the West Coast of Irelands.

That’s where he and his dolphin buddy Dustin like to hang out.

“I never look for Dusty when I get in the water,” Pender told The Dodo. “She finds me, so she must enjoy my company.”

One day while diving, Pender decided to adjust his fin sock.

“Dusty is fascinated by the removed fin,” he explains in one of his videos of his and Dusty’s playdates.

Pender thought this was hilarious. But he was completely astounded by what happened when he returned the next day.

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A post shared by Evan Pender (@_evan_pender_)

Dusty somehow found another fin. And she wanted to give it to her friend.

“I can’t believe it! Dusty shows up with a snorkeling fin,” Pender says.

From there they had a good game of fetch going. Dusty balanced the fin on his head and brought it to the surface.

E Pender - YouTube
Source:
E Pender - YouTube

Then he dropped it so that Pender could have a turn at catching it. This went on for hours. Basically, Pender is living the best life ever.

Who wouldn’t want to not only be friends with a dolphin but get to play with them all the time? Put me on that list!

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A post shared by Evan Pender (@_evan_pender_)

“I feel at home underwater,” Pender said. “I love being around Dusty, and our friendship is getting stronger and stronger.”

Dolphins are known for their playful nature. According to ResearchGate, play offers dolphins opportunities to practice and perfect locomotor skills, including ones that are involved in foraging and mating.

It helps them to develop social skills and understand the characteristics of members of their social groups. It helps them learn how to think and act.

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A post shared by Evan Pender (@_evan_pender_)

“The behavioral variability and individual creativity that characterize dolphin play yield ample opportunities for individual cognitive development as well as social learning, and sometimes result in innovations that are reproduced by other members of the group,” the website state. “Although adults sometimes produce innovative play, calves are the primary source of such innovations. Calves are also more likely to imitate novel play behaviors than are adults, and so calves contribute significantly to both the creation and transmission of novel play behaviors within a group.”

But Pender says he has a different interpretation of why dolphins like to play.

“I think I understand why dolphins play games with objects. It builds trust,” Pender said. “With Dusty, she knew that it was as enjoyable for me to dive down and get the fin as it was for her. Otherwise, she would have wanted me to drop the fin for her always. But she wanted me to go down for it. She never skipped a turn.”

_evan_pender_ - Instagram
Source:
_evan_pender_ - Instagram

So, according to Pender play is for pure fun and the joy of it.

Watch these two have a ball with a game of fetch in the video below.

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By D.G. Sciortino
hi@sbly.com
D.G. is a contributing writer in Shareably. She's based in Connecticut and can be reached at hi@shareably.net.
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