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Dolphins’ Stampede Video Was Not Taken After the California Hurricane

Eman Hillis Eman Hillis
22nd August 2023
Dolphins’ Stampede Video Was Not Taken After the California Hurricane
The video of dolphins predates Hurricane Hilary (Twitter)

The Claim

Emerging story

A video is being widely circulated on social media alleging there are thousands of Dolphins stampeding on the California Coast.

Some claimed that the dolphins' stampede was spontaneous to Hurricane Hilary and others claimed it happened before the Hurricane, signalling that dolphins could have sensed the approaching danger and escaped to a safer zone.

A supporting image within the article body
A supporting image within the article body

Misbar’s Analysis

Misbar investigated the circulating claim and found it to be misleading.

A thorough reverse image search revealed the video to be captured on the California Coast but it is outdated and unrelated to Hurricane Hilary.

The Video of Dolphins Was Previously Posted In 2022

The dolphins in the video are on the California Coast but the video was published in 2022 on YouTube at Dana Point, in Southern California which has the greatest density of dolphins per mile on earth.

The video features large mega-pods of dolphins stampeding spontaneously at a high rate of speed.

This phenomenon is not unusual to happen at Dana Point. Capt Cave's Cana Point Dolphin & Whale Watching Safari, the tour agency in Dana Point, publishes a similar video nearly every year of a dolphin stampede.

A supporting image within the article body
A supporting image within the article body

Dolphins Stampede

Dolphin stampeding could be described as porpoising out of water at a high speed. Porposign allows dolphins to acquire more momentum since the resistance of air is less than the resistance of water.

Contrary to the claim, dolphins do not stampede in response to feeling a disaster coming. According to experts, dolphins could be stampeding to chase prey together or to evade a nearby predator, and this could occur at any time. Still, no definitive answer explains the phenomenon.

A dolphin stampede can occur anytime throughout the year off the coast of Dana Point, however, it is not a common phenomenon in the rest parts of the world. When it happens, dolphins would often be in small pods. It is rare to happen with large numbers of pods as in the viral video.

Hurricane Hilary In California

Hurricane Hilary first formed on August 16 as Tropical Storm Hilary off the coast of Manzanillo in Mexico. It is reported to have killed at least one person. Then, it struck the United States, California, setting a record for downpours overnight. 

“We are not used to this level of precipitation, generally. Certainly not in the middle of summer,” San Diego Mayor Todd Gloria said. Some parts of California saw more than 2 inches of water in only six hours, half of the average range of rainfall they normally have throughout the year.

Accordingly, the California government declared a state of emergency. Schools have been shuttered and flights delayed or cancelled. The hurricane carried a large amount of mud and sand with it, causing many people to be trapped by the mud in one area, and rescue teams are still trying to rescue them.

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