I would like to help raise your awareness about why, there is a demand to capture and keep marine animals in captivity ; to raise your awareness because :you're creating the demand when you are visiting a marine park like SeaWorld or MarineLand or if you participate to a swim with dolphins in a vacations resort's activities.
The demand cause a market for exploitation of sea creatures!
So here are some questions and answers on the subject:
PLEASE READ IT AND UNDERSTAND THE IMPACT YOUR DECISION TO PURCHASE TICKET TO ENTER THESE WATER-PARKS DOES HAVE ON THESE ANIMALS, MADE TO BE LEAVING IN THE WILD!
WHERE DO CAPTIVE DOLPHINS COME FROM?
Contrary to the popular perception that all captive dolphins are born in captivity, many of those currently in captivity were once wild and free. While some water parks obtain dolphins legally, others find that obtaining the animals through proper channels takes more time and money than they are willing to invest.As a result, a thriving illegal trade in wild-caught dolphins and others sea creatures has emerged in order to meet the demand. Wild animals acquired for a captive facility represent only a portion of those affected.
The capture process is extremely violent, potentially lethal, and inherently cruel. For every wild dolphin taken captive, at least one other is injured or killed during the capture process.Studies suggest that mortality rates increase six-fold after capture.Dolphins are chased to exhaustion by men in speed boats who separate a few dolphins from the rest of the group , corral them with a net and close of the bottom. In a panic, the dolphins often injure themselves when they ram the net in a attempt to escape, injury and death ( usually by drowning ) are common. The captured dolphins may then be subjected to traumatic travel by boats, shallow pens on trucks, or between countries on long-haul flights.
The removal of dolphins, belugas , killer whales or any others sea creatures can be detrimental for the overall population. In particular, the taking of young females, the preferred catch of the swim-with-the-dolphin facilities, can affect the health of wild populations over the long term. In regions where very little is known about the status of populations, removing any specimens from the wild is a serious conservation concern because it poses a threat not only to the survival of local dolphins but because it also undermines international measures to protect them.
IS THERE A DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THE TANK THAT CAPTIVE DOLPHINS ARE KEPT IN AND THEIR NATURAL ENVIRONMENT?
Dolphins are intelligent and social creatures that, in the wild, interact with hundreds of pod-mates, hunt communally, and have entire coastlines as their playground. In captivity, all of this is lost. Social partners are restricted to a handful of tank-mates.Captives dolphins are fed dead fish ( wild dolphins only catch and eat live fish;they never eat dead fish ) and they face a profound reduction in space ans stimulation.
Dolphins in the wild may swim up to 40 or 50 miles in a day and can dive to depths of hundred of feet. Even in the largest facilities, captive dolphins have access to less than of 1% ( 1/10,000 ) of the space available to them in their natural environment.Dolphins in captivity are often restricted to swimming in circles. In many dolphins, this behavior is a sign that the dolphins is suffering psychologically; it is engaging in what is known as a stereotypical behavior.For an inquisitive, intelligent creature like the dolphin, a barren tank offers no exploratory stimuli compared to the vast, complex ocean.
HOW CAN I TELL WHEN DOLPHINS ARE HAPPY?
The dolphin's toothy grin masks its suffering and contributes to the myth that dolphins in theme parks enjoy a happy life. The truth is, dolphins cannot move their facial muscles to communicate inner feelings like humans can. Dolphins appear to smile even when injured or seriously ill. The smile is a feature of a dolphin's anatomy unrelated to its health or emotional state.
Dolphins'bodies are adapted to the aquatic environment. When a dolphins beach themselves in the wild, they do so because they are sick, disoriented, injured or otherwise in some kind of distress. Many of the beached animals die from the resulting pressure and damage to their internal organs. A CAPTIVE DOLPHIN THAT LIFTS ITSELF OUT OF THE WATER AND ONTO A PLATFORM OR STAGE HAS BEEN TRAINED TO BEACH ITSELF ON COMMAND. THE DISCOMFORT TO THE ANIMAL CAN BE GREAT AND PERMANENT INJURY IS ONLY AVOIDED BY THE TRAINER RECALLING THE ANIMAL TO THE WATER IN TIME. THE SAME GOES FOR ORCAS, BELUGAS AND OTHER MARINE MAMMALS TRAINED TO DO TRICKS FOR YOUR ENTERTAINMENT!
The behaviors you encounter in a captive facility are not normal wild animal behavior. To watch really happy animals who are enjoying what they are doing, watch them in the wild in their natural habitat.
DO DOLPHINS,KILLER WHALES AND BELUGAS HAVE TO PERFORM ALL THE TIME OR DO THEY TAKE DAYS OFF? DO THEY MIND THE LOUD MUSIC AND LOUD NOISES OF THE CROWD WHEN THEY ARE DOING SHOWS?
Captive animals often work 12 hours days without breaks. Whether it is performing for the public or participating in dolphin petting pool encounters, they are forced to participate by conditioning.During performances or petting sessions, their ears are assaulted by blaring music and the noise of people splashing water or slapping the sides of the tank to get their attention. In petting pools and feeding programs, the animals'health may be further compromised by people placing items such as sunglasses, cigarettes, stones, coins, food and metal souvenirs into the mouths of dolphins. All of this takes a heavy toll on dolphins often resulting in stress-related illnesses and even death.
WHAT HAPPENS TO THE DOLPHINS OR KILLER WHALES IF THEY DECIDE THAT THEY DON"T WANT TO PERFORM?
Animals in captivity are not given the option to end interactions or performances when they would like to. They are trained to perform through 'operant conditioning'. For many animals this means that satisfaction of hunger is dependent on performing tricks; for others, hunger is deliberately induced so the trainer will be effective. Though a complete food portion is ultimately provided each day, the use of food as a training tool reduces some animals to little more than beggars!
Sometimes animals express their frustration through aggression either to people, other animals, or by self mutilation. People would not dream of putting their children or themselves in a cage with wolves, lions or tigers. This natural caution is lost around dolphins. Dolphins ( including those born in captivity) are large, powerful predators, perfectly capable of harming humans. Examples of dolphin aggression include pushing people into deeper water, biting, and head-jerking. Injury reports document broken bones, skin abrasions and other injuries.
The public is taken by the dolphin's smile and assumes they are gentle, willing playmates. But make no mistake, these are wild animals and the smile is simply an anatomical quirk; it is not a reflection of the dolphin's emotional state.
ARE DOLPHINS OR OTHERS MARINE MAMMALS HAPPY AND NOT LONELY AS LONG AS THEY ARE WITH OTHER ANIMALS OF THEIR KIND?
Dolphins and other marine mammals in captivity, forced to live with others of their species, do not always get along with their pool-mates. The dolphin pod is a very complex social unit. Dolphins in a pod share close social bonds with each other. To force a change in the composition of the pod may have dire complications for the hierarchy and structure. Simply providing them with the company of other individuals of their species is no assurance that they will be happy and will not experience loneliness. Just like humans, dolphins are intelligent, thinking, feeling individuals.
WHAT IS THE REQUIRED AMOUNT OF SPACE FOR A CAPTIVE DOLPHINS OR OTHER MARINE MAMMALS TO BE HAPPY? HOW BIG ARE THE THANKS THAT THEY LIVE IN WHEN THEY ARE NOT DOING SHOWS?
Any tank or enclosure is too small for a dolphin, belugas or killer whale. According to US regulations, dolphin pens only need to be 24 x 24 feet and only six feet deep. With the current US standards, a dolphin would have to circle its pen more than 1,700 times every day to stimulate its natural swimming range in the wild! In warm weather such shallow water heats quickly. This can be extremely uncomfortable, and often deadly, for dolphins unable to escape to deeper, cooler waters. Not only is there no relief from the heat, but also the dolphin's sensitive skin can be exposed to the sun's scorching rays, causing blisters and sores. Also ,in cement pools, chlorine is added to keep bacteria levels safe for humans. The levels of chlorine used, wreak havoc on a dolphin's eyes and skin, sometimes even rendering them completely blind. ( Remember Harry the blind seal at Marine Land in Ontario).
Just because standards exist, doesn't mean that they are appropriate, well enforced, or they ensure an acceptable quality of life for these animals.No facility can adequately simulate the vast ocean or provide for these majestic animal's needs.No captive program - no matter How large it is, how well regulated it is, well funded, or well intentioned - can make a case for meeting a dolphin or any marine mammals complex behavioral needs and no standard set by any governments of any countries can be called sufficient!
IS IT OK TO GO TO DOLPHINARIA OR AQUARIUM JUST TO SEE THE ANIMALS BUT NOT WATCH THEM PERFORM TRICKS?
Every time someone buys a ticket to a dolphin, belugas, killer whale or other marine mammals shows or even facility or theme park that holds captive these beautiful animals, they are contributing to the suffering of these remarkable creatures. Like any other business, the dolphins captivity industry is based on supply and demand and the captivity industry exists to make money and fulfill the demand for interactive experiences with the marine creatures. As long as people are willing to buy tickets to watch dolphins, belugas or killer whales ( whether to perform tricks or just to view them through a glass wall), they will be kept in captivity and trained to perform for audiences. THE KEY TO PUTTING A STOP TO THE EXPLOITATION OF DOLPHINS AND OTHERS MARINE MAMMALS AND SEA CREATURES IS THE CHOICES ONE CAN MAKE AS A CONSUMER, IN OTHER WORDS, IF THE PUBLIC UNDERSTOOD THE TRUTH BEHIND CAPTIVE ANIMALS INDUSTRY THEY WOULDN'T BUY A TICKET... I KNOW I WON"T! YOU AND YOU ONLY CAN PUT A STOP TO THIS EXPLOITATION OF THESE MAGNIFICENT ANIMALS, THAT ARE MADE TO LIVE FREE IN THE OCEAN !