If you ever have the opportunity to enjoy the waters of Turks and Caicos (T&C), you will see some of the most amazing marine life. You are likely not to meet any underwater animal as famous as JoJo, the underwater socialite. Though most dolphins prefer to stay secluded, JoJo has a rare personality that likes personal interactions. Because of this, he has many friends from land, including people and dogs.
The journey of JoJo began in 1984 with his friendship with a man named Dean Bernal. Dean was exploring some coastal reefs and noticed he was being followed at a distance by a bottle-nosed dolphin. He began noticing the dolphin come closer each day. Dean formed a relationship with JoJo, moving to the area where he could better protect him from other people. Visitors saw JoJo is a danger as they constantly mistook his curiosity as an invitation to pet him. JoJo, as most wild creatures do, would see someone’s arm reaching towards him as a threat. Dean had to come to the dolphins defense to fight against those wanting to remove him from the area because of their misunderstandings on how they should appropriately interact with a wild dolphin.
Luckily, Dean was able to keep JoJo out of captivity and eventually others on the island began seeing him more as an island treasure and less as a nuisance.
Today, JoJo is well known around the island and brightens up the days of visitors with his curious personality and wonderful presence. If you have the privilege of visiting Turks and Caicos, you may have the privilege of seeing JoJo they are. He loves to interact with others around him, but you should always remember he is wildlife and is legally protected. This is for his safety in yours. In fact, you see JoJo in the wild, it is illegal to touch him. After he realizes you are respecting his area, perhaps he will introduce you to his dolphin wife, Chenoa, and their new son MoJo.