THE BUNBURY community has welcomed eight new calves to kick off the 2022 dolphin breeding season.
With over 200 dolphins in the population between Binningup and Peppermint Grove Beach, a handful of 'Bunbury locals' have given birth - including Hunter, Frenchy, Wave and Ink.
Bunbury dolphin Scout has also welcomed her fourth calf, Ambush, and for the first time, has become a grandma, with her eldest calf Hunter, having her own calf, Tracker.
Dolphin Discovery Centre conservation manager Jan Tierney said seeing eight calves was a "promising start" to the season.
"We've been conducting our monitoring research since 1989, and the most calves we've had was last year with a record 19," Ms Tierney said.
"Most years we like to see between eight and 12 calves - so we'll continue to monitor them.
"At least three of the dolphins this year are first time mums."
According to Ms Tierney, dolphins only give birth ever four years, from which the calf then stays with its mum for three to four years.
She noted how the first 12 months of a calf's life were "a very vulnerable time" for calves as their mums catch fish to feed both herself and the calf, as well as protect the calf from predators.
"We're very pleased to see them still going once they get through the first year," Ms Tierney said.
"The majority of our calves here are born between January and Easter when the water temperature reaches its peak of 23 degrees - so we're in the peak calving period now. To the community who may see a mum with their calf, please enjoy them but give them a wide birth of 100 metres."