A bottle-nosed dolphin, known as Jo Jo, frequents the Princess Alexandra Marine Park along the north coast of Providenciales in the Grace Bay area, although he is also found occasionally in other locations. He is attracted by boats (particularly propeller noise and bubbles) and humans, apparently enjoying swimming and playing with people, while often coming in very close to the shore. If you are fortunate enough to see or swim with him, remember that he is a protected wild animal: do not touch him. He has been injured by propellers in the past, so take care if you are in a boat.
Although there is a campaign for boats to fit a protective covering, very few watersports operators have agreed to do so. The Turks & Caicos Free Press of 27 March 1998 quoted one charter vessel captain as saying “We’re not going to go crazy about one dolphin”. The government has declared Jo Jo to be a National Treasure, but little is done to protect him. Dean Bernal, who runs public awareness campaigns on the island, has repeatedly called for special propeller guards to be fitted to Club Med waterski boats and has even offered to purchase them himself, to no avail. There is now a campaign to ban waterskiing in the marine park. For more information contact Jo Jo’s warden at VHF ‘Sea Base’ channel 68 or 73 or T/F9415617,the Jo Jo Dolphin Project is supported by the Bellerive Foundation. Dean Bernal can be contacted on joj...@tciway.tc If you want to express your concern to the authorities, write to gove...@tciway.tc, with a copy to Dean.