Treehugger recently posted 10 Reasons Why Dolphins Are Undeniably Awesome. This is all nice and well but this does overlook some key aspects of dolphins that should be recognized. Good luck trying to sleep tonight when you start thinking about dolphins.
1. They gang rape females As Miriam wrote before XXfactor, “Dolphin sex can be violent …
It’s not so much the act of swimming with them (although since they are so closely related, there is a chance of disease transmission on both sides), but the fact that these highly social, wide-ranging, emotional animals are in small confined spaces.
The majority of dolphins caught are either caught wild from the Solomon Islands, or from the infamous Taiji of ‘The Cove’ fame. These dolphins are separated from their pod or family, and they have the capacity to understand this.
Then they are trained to do tricks, and as with any non-domesticated animals, you basically have to drive them into submission. They are held in the same space, a fraction of their natural range, with the same stimuli day in, day out. They can literally get depressed.
Recently, 25 dolphins were imported into the Philippines, from the Solomon Islands and Malaysia, to be trained by Ocean Adventure Park, and shipped off to the shiny new ‘Marine Life Park’ at Resorts World Sentosa, Singapore. This is the same resort that wanted to house a whale shark in it’s aquarium. There were massive protests from animals rights groups in Singapore and Philippines, and they even took it to court, but the dolphins got sent to Singapore anyway. En route, one of them died.
For me it’s not just about animal rights, though I believe it says something about our collective mindset as a species treating the only other species with similar intelligence so badly.
It’s about their role in the ecosystem. They are apex predators, top of the food chain, and bioindicators of the state of our oceans. We rely on the oceans as a source of protein, a carbon sink, a biomedical source and much more. We need to look at the bigger picture and start investing in our future.
The documentary ‘The Cove’ is a good place to start if you are really interested in the subject.