All posts in category Dolphin Conservation
All My Ocean News posts filled under Dolphins
Posted by Domino on January 26, 2012
If Iran closes the Strait of Hormuz, the U.S. Navy has a backup plan to save one-fifth of the world’s daily oil trade: “send in the dolphins”. The question is: Do you support the use of dolphins and marine mammals in general for military use? Personally I don’t.
In response to heightened sanctions, Iran has threatened to block the Strait of Hormuz, the only sea route out of the Persian Gulf and, according to the US energy department, “the world’s most important oil choke”. Iran might use mines to do it, and if they should do so, then, according to retired US Admiral Tim Keating, who previously commanded the US 5th Fleet in Bahrain, “we’ve got dolphins.”
According to earlier reports, the US Navy has trained about 80 dolphins to detect mines. Some reports say that the dolphins only locate the mines and drop acoustic transponders nearby, so that humans can destroy the mines, but it is also possible for the dolphins to set off the mines and die in the resulting explosion, and, of course, using the dolphins in this way makes them – and any other dolphins in the area – targets for the Iranians to destroy if they can.
Animals, or at least those who are conscious and capable of suffering or enjoying their lives, are not things for us to use in whatever way we find convenient. To believe that, because they are members of a different species, we can ignore or discount their interests is speciesism, a form of prejudice against beings who are not “us” that is akin to racism and sexism. We should give equal consideration to the interests of any sentient being, where their interests are similar to our own.
Dolphins are social mammals, capable of enjoying their lives. They form close bonds with other members of their group. They respond to images of themselves in a mirror, and use the mirror to examine marks on parts of their body that they cannot otherwise see – a test that is widely taken to be a sign of self-awareness, which human children cannot pass until they are somewhere between 18 months and two years of age.
The United States no longer conscripts its citizens to fight its wars. All its human troops are volunteers. But even conscripts have some basic rights. The dolphins have none.
Late last year, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, together with three international orca experts, and two former orca trainers asked a federal court in San Diego to declare that five orcas held and forced to perform by SeaWorld are held as slaves in violation of the 13th Amendment to the US Constitution that outlaws slavery. The suit has yet to be heard, but a similar case might be made against the US Navy for its use of dolphins.
Various civilizations have, at times, enslaved human beings and forced them to fight for their oppressors. That despicable practice is now rightly condemned, as far as human beings are concerned, but the enslavement of other species continues, in many areas of human life, and the use of slaves in war continues in the United States Navy.
It might be argued that as long as billions of animals are confined in factory farms to produce meat, eggs and milk, the use of a few dolphins in military action is trivial. Obviously, the amount of suffering we inflict on factory-farmed animals every day dwarfs whatever might happen to the dolphins.
Nevertheless, just when we are starting to realize how gravely we are wronging animals, and to do something about this – like the very welcome European Union ban on standard battery cages for laying hens, which came into effect on 1 January this year – we ought not to be finding new ways to exploit them.
Dolphins have nothing to do with the dispute over Iran’s nuclear plans. Whatever the rights and wrongs of taking military action against Iran, let’s leave the dolphins out of it.
Source: Guardian.co.uk, published on January 19, 2012 – Peter Singer
The Navy Is Depending on Dolphins to Keep the Strait of Hormuz Open (tarpon.wordpress.com)
Why Not Let Iran Close the Strait of Hormuz? (blogcritics.org)
Tensions rise in the Strait of Hormuz (laaska.wordpress.com)
Posted by Domino on January 16, 2012
Text and Video From YouTube Channel: dolphin5297 , Zach Affolter
Learn about the differences between dolphins in captivity and dolphins in the wild…
DOLPHINS IN THE WILD
In the wild, dolphins jump on their own free will. In the wild, dolphins and other whales:
Have home ranges (e.g. orcas can dive as deep as 60m and travel as far as 160km in a day and bottlenose dolphins off the coast of Cornwall, UK, have been recorded to travel up to 1076km in 20 days).
- Are almost always in motion, even when resting and spend less than 20% of their time at the water’s surface. Orcas and Dall’s porpoise are two of the fastest animals in the sea (Dall’s porpoises can reach swimming speeds of up to 35mph).
- Live in highly complex societies; with some individuals holding key roles within a specific group (e.g. communicator with other pods, nursing).
- Choose to form strong, long-lasting social bonds with certain other members of their pod.
- Are intelligent and can demonstrate problem solving and abstract concept formation, e.g. utilise tools — female bottlenose dolphins in Australia have learned to use natural sponges to protect their beaks while foraging among sea urchins on the sea bed.
- Are altruistic, some species have been witnessed helping other members of their pod, other species and even humans in trouble. They are self-aware and display highly responsive behavior.
- Have culture i.e. they teach and learn traditions (e.g. Patagonian orcas partially strand themselves to catch sea-lions).
- Demonstrate a high degree of vocal adaptability e.g. orcas in different parts of the world have completely different dialects from one another.
DOLPHINS IN CAPTIVITY
In captivity, dolphins and other whales:
Are separated from their natural habitat and enclosed in a totally alien environment.
- Have to undergo medication and fertility control. Aquatic Mammals 2005, 31 (3) lists 199 facilities worldwide. More have established since then.
- Have to put up with an artificial diet, unusual noise, strange odors and the proximity of people and other unfamiliar captive animals.
- No longer have free will to choose social bonds.
- May suffer aggression from other pool mates more dominant than them.
- Are sometimes kept on their own (some in hotel swimming pools), e.g. four orcas are currently held in captivity on their own.
- Suffer from stress, reduced life expectancy and breeding problems. The Marine Mammal Inventory Report, maintained by the U.S. government, lists a variety of causes of death including drowning, ingestion of foreign objects and aggression from pool mates
The facts are plain – most dolphins and whales are not born in captivity, and with breeding rates unable to meet the need to restock facilities, dolphins and whales continue to be captured from the wild. You can help captive dolphins and the slaughter of thousands of these incredible creatures by not supporting dolphinaria.
Posted by Domino on October 30, 2011
Dolphins don’t express emotions with their facial muscles. Their mouth is just shaped in a way that we humans misinterpret as a smile. Because they always seem to be smiling, visitors to marine parks and dolphinariums often assume that dolphins kept in captivity are having a great time performing tricks and flips, splashing and jumping around their tank. But captive dolphins aren’t smiling and most people don’t see the sad truth behind that smiley grin.
Captive dolphins are abducted dolphins – Most captive dolphins nowadays are born and bred in captivity, but many are still taken out of the wild. Dolphins are highly intelligent social creatures that live in pods, forming close bonds with family members. For the sake of entertainment dolphins are being ripped from their natural ocean environments, snatched away from their family and pod mates, held in nets, carried in trucks, hoisted into planes and flown for hours.
Captivity supports dolphin slaughter – In order to sustain the captive population, massive hunts are conducted each year in various places around the world (e.g. The annual Taiji dolphin slaughter, highlighted in award-winning documentary “The Cove” in Japan). It is estimated that more than 23,000 dolphins are slaugthered every year. All dolphinariums indirectly support dolphin slaughter by keeping the demand for captive dolphins alive. Most people ignore that.
Dolphin captivity is ethically wrong – Dolphins in the wild are very curious animals and live in a world full of sounds, sights, movement, colour, varying landscapes and changing currents. In captivity, the dolphins imprisoned suffer from boredom, inadequate exercise, insufficient food variety, and bad food, especially when the facilities are poor. Some facilities even starve dolphins to train them to better perform.
Dolphin captivity sends the wrong message – One may argue that dolphins in captivity provide an educational experience; however, when kids go to dolphinariums, they get a man-made, counterfeit impression of dolphins. Ocean explorer Jacques Cousteau said: “No aquarium, no tank in a marine land, however spacious it may be, can begin to duplicate the conditions of the sea. And no dolphin who inhabits one of those aquariums or one of those marine lands can be considered normal.”
Dolphin captivity is cruel – Given the findings about dolphin intelligence, it is cruel to keep them in captivity. A study found that dolphins in captivity have a death rate of 5.6-7.4% compared with 3.9% in the wild.
Our knowledge about dolphins mainly come from studies of animals in captivity. But some scientists are fighting to keep all studies in the wild with animals that “decide” to work with them, an effort that was recently successful in showing how dolphin mothers teach their babies to hunt.
It seems the more we study dolphins, the more human-like we find them to be and the more trouble we have with the idea of keeping them in captivity and so it should be. I wish more people could get past the smile and see the sad truth behind dolphin captivity and how dolphins are suffering for the sake of entertainment and research.
Posted by Domino on August 9, 2011