Tropical Storm Hilary battered the US state of California with heavy rainfall and floods. This was the first tropical storm to hit California in 84 years. Hilary weakened from a category 1 hurricane before making landfall over the northern Baja California Peninsula on August 20. In its aftermath, a startling video showing a huge group of dolphins swimming together in a synchronous way went viral on social media. Allegedly, this was a “Dolphin stampede” that was spotted along the California coast ahead of the tropical storm.
A Twitter user shared the video and wrote, “This dolphin stampede was spotted along the coast in California before #californiahurricane”. The archived version of this can be seen here.
India Today found that this video dates back to October 2022 and thus has nothing to do with tropical storm Hilary.
On reverse searching keyframes from the viral video, we found that many social media users had attributed it to an Instagram user called Taylor Parent and the Legacy Whale Watch, a boat tour agency that conducts whale watching tours in San Diego, US.
We found that both Taylor Parent and Legacy Whale Watch had shared this video in October 2022. Legacy Whale Watch mentioned in its post that the video was shot on October 6, 2022, by Parent, who as per her profile, is a photographer and shark safety diver.
The San Luis Obispo Tribune, a Californian newspaper, carried this video in its November 2022 report. Per this report, the dolphins seen in the viral video were spotted at the Channel Islands National Park of California.
What is a dolphin stampede?
A dolphin stampede is the phenomenon of dolphins swimming in large groups. It is still unclear why large groups of dolphins do this. Experts believe it could be related to the need for safety in numbers, or because dolphins are chasing prey together, or both.
To sum it up, an old video of a dolphin stampede is being falsely linked to the recent tropical storm Hilary in the US.