Ponta Do Ouro Dolphins, Mozambique, 2012

Off the coast of Mozambique, in the Ponta Do Ouro Marine Reserve, bottlenose dolphins swim in the clear shallow water. The bottlenose, in partifular, is known for its curiosity and interest in humans. The waters of the Ponta do Ouro Marine Reserve are known to be populated with some 250 of these dolphins, who frolic and forage in the shallow surf.

Ponta Do Ouro is one of many protected areas tucked into a large Southern African fishing zone, created in an effort to find balance between protecting communities and the fish. On 14 July 2009, the government declared a 678 km² marine protected area, stretching from Ponta do Ouro in the south to the Maputo River Mouth in Maputo Bay in the north. The Ponta do Ouro Partial Marine Reserve stretches three nautical miles into the Indian Ocean and includes the waters around Inhaca Island and Portuguese Island. The marine reserve has a rich diversity of marine life and is the most important leatherback and loggerhead turtle nesting ground along the Mozambican coast.

“Getting photographs of Indo-Pacific bottlenose dolphins in the surf zone was a bit tricky. To make this image I had to free dive in and out of the breaking waves. Exact timing meant the difference between getting the shot or getting pounded by the surf.” –Thomas Peschak

Location: Mozambique
Photograph Date: 2012
Medium: Chromogenic Print
Edition: 200

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About the Photographer

Thomas Peschak

Thomas P. Peschak is an assignment photographer for National Geographic Magazine. He is a Founding/Associate Director of the Manta Trust, and a senior fellow of the International League of Conservation Photographers. He has been named as one of the 40 most influential nature photographers in the world.

Originally trained as a marine biologist specializing in human–wildlife conflict, he retired from science fieldwork in 2004. He became an wildlife photojournalist after realizing that he could have a greater conservation impact through photographs than statistics. His work focuses on some of the most critical marine conservation issues of our time.

Thomas has written and photographed five books: Currents of Contrast, Great White Shark, Wild Seas Secret Shores and Lost World. His latest book Sharks and People was released in 2013 and chronicles the relationship between people and sharks around the world.

He is a multiple winner in the BBC Wildlife Photographer of the Year Awards and received World Press Photo Awards for his work in2011 and 2013. In 2015, he gave a TED talk, Dive into an ocean photographer’s world, aboard Mission Blue II, hosted by TED Prize winner Sylvia Earle.

Thomas is a speaker for the National Geographic Live! Series and presented his talk, Wild Seas, Secret Shores in Australia and Singapore.

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