Dolphins performing in the Sea World (general information – interaction with human – trade and conservation)

The video shows dolphin performance at the Sea World, San Diego, California, USA. The review is trying to bring in some information that goes with this video.

Introduction: Dolphins that are affiliated to family Delphinidae belong to a group of marine mammals which are referred as cetaceans.  The group includes about forty species. Dolphins are found worldwide, mostly in the shallower seas of the continental shelves. They are carnivores, eating mostly fish and squid. Its life span is about 50 years.

Dolphins like all mammals are warm blooded. They breathe air using their lungs and that is why they make frequent trips to the surface of the water to catch a breath through a hole on the dolphin’s head that acts as a nose. Dolphins give birth to live young and they feed their young with milk.

Dolphin species vary significantly in size (length and weight). They are characterized by their streamlined body and flippers. Dolphins have specially adapted lens and cornea that enable them to enjoy excellent vision in and out of the water.

These beautiful mammals interact nicely with their trainers. Their intelligence, friendliness, smile and merry-looking eyes have promoted their use in entertaining humans.

Until recently dolphins formed the basis of a widespread fishing industry; only the Japanese continue to hunt them for food on a large scale. In addition, dolphins are accidentally caught and killed in large numbers in tuna seining operations.

 Interaction of dolphins with Human: The utilization of dolphins in the dolphinariums is considered the pronounced use of dolphins. This has been based on their ability to imitation, memorization and performance to elaborate tasks. There are interesting stories whereas dolphins have rescued people from drowning. Other than that, The U.S. navy has trained dolphins to act as messengers to underwater stations, to rescue wounded scuba divers and protect them from sharks, and to locate underwater mines; although this project -underwater mines- received considerable public criticism.

Trade and conservation approaches: Live dolphins are still captured and exported for public display in dolphinariums in several parts of the world. Because the species is not to be threatened with extinction and are included in Appendix II, a sort of control on their utilization and trade which is regulated by CITES whereas trade is permitted only in exceptional circumstances.

Animal rights and welfare groups still consider keeping dolphins at dolphinariums a form of animal abuse. No matter how big the facilities are, the groups believe that dolphins do not have enough freedom of movement in pools which causes animals to become aggressive towards other animals or people. In fact, there are some situations whereas dolphins in captivity developed great stress which caused them to commit suicide by starvation, battering against walls, or drowning.

On the other hand, dolphinariums highlights their efforts and care to ensure the well-being of the animals.

Governments in several countries developed legislations and protection acts targeting the conservation of dolphin populations. Actions vary and include any of the followings:

  • Closing  the dolphinariums
  • Prohibiting the imports and/or keeping dolphins in captivity
  • Conditioned use of dolphins though permits specifying the purpose whether public display or research
  • Developing breeding programs in most western countries, to provide the dolphinariums with bred animals


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