Encountering a dolphin in the wild and the dangers behind it

CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - A viral video of a dolphin making its way across the Lowcountry could be doing more harm than good.

Many of the comments on the post of a dolphin encounter on the Wando River said they wanted their own experience with a dolphin in the wild.

It wasn't the local fisherman's fault the dolphin came up to his boat and in the video, he doesn't touch or feed the animal.

However, it shines a light on a bigger issue that some people are feeding these wild animals making them feel comfortable enough to approach boats and humans.

"To me that was a sign he's been fed before, and that's illegal under the marine mammal protection act. It's also very dangerous for the dolphin and the humans," said Lauren Rust, the executive director of Lowcountry Marine Mammal Network.

Rust wants to make sure people don't see videos like this and try to recreate them.

"They're wild animals," Rust said."They're unpredictable. They're looking for food and although they're not aggressive animals you never know how they're going to act."

Not only can it be dangerous for us, but for them too.

"They see humans as a source of food and every year it's dolphins that get hit by boats,"  Rust said.

Rust says if you see a dolphin out on the water to keep your distance and not to circle back around, and if you're in a boat cut the engine, and if you're in a kayak bring up the paddles.

According to the Marine Mammal Protection Act, it is illegal to feed or harass the dolphins or any marine mammal.

Copyright 2018 WCSC. All rights reserved.