Dolphins Back to Istanbul’s Bosporus Strait

Istanbul has a marvelous cityscape with a wide array of magnificent palaces, bridges, and mosques. If you plan a visit to the historical city, visit all the iconic destinations for sure, and also keep a day for spending some time with these adorable dolphins. The Straight of Istanbul or Bosporus strait is one of the significant waterways in Istanbul in terms of trade and tourism. Situated in the northwestern part of Turkey, it unites the waters of the Black Sea and the Sea of Marmara. The strait also connects the European and Asian parts of Istanbul. Crossed by three suspension bridges, the sweeping expanse of the Bosporus strait is much acclaimed for its scenic beauty.

This waterway is the existence of three gorgeous dolphin species out here. These dolphins usually move from the Sea of Marmara to the Black Sea. The three unique varieties of dolphins that live in the strait are common dolphins, bottlenose dolphins and harbour porpoises. Dolphins can be spotted here almost during all seasons of the year. However, their numbers increase in spring, when a lot of migratory fishes flock into the water channel. The best months for observing the dolphins at Bosporus are from May to July.

Bottlenose Dolphin

However, the dolphins often face survival challenges due to the excessive load of marine traffic along the strait. The movement across the tunnel that runs beneath the strait, the noise of speedboats, the oil tankers, and more create difficulties for them, as they tend to shy away from noises.

The Turkish city of 16 million has been under lockdown as part of government measures to stem the spread of the coronavirus. A lull in boat traffic and a fishing ban in Istanbul forced by the coronavirus pandemic has proved good news for some of the city’s most-loved inhabitants — the dolphins that swim back in the fish-rich waters of the Bosphorus Strait between Europe and Asia.

Bottlenose Dolphin

Bottlenose dolphins are well known as the intelligent and charismatic stars of many aquarium shows. Their curved mouths give the appearance of a friendly, permanent smile, and they can be trained to perform complex tricks. In the wild, these sleek swimmers can reach speeds of over 18 miles an hour. They surface often to breathe, doing so two or three times a minute. Bottlenose dolphins travel in social groups and communicate with each other by a complex system of squeaks and whistles.

Harbor porpoises

Harbor porpoises are shy, elusive sea mammals whose numbers are declining primarily because they are frequently caught by accident in commercial fishing nets. Specific numbers are unknown, but some scientists think their enormous range may mean that despite the declines, sizable populations could remain.

Unlike their dolphin relatives, they have a blunt, rounded head rather than a prominent forehead and snout. Their mouths are short with black, inward-curving lips and spatulate, or spade-shaped, teeth. Their necks, short and immobile, are virtually indistinguishable from their grayish bodies, which taper to a tail with small, curved flukes and a middle notch. Harbor porpoises are found throughout the temperate coastal waters of the Northern Hemisphere. As their name suggests, they prefer the shallows, less than 500 feet deep, and are commonly seen in harbors and bays.

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