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Swim With The Dolphins STT - please petition

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piaa
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August 10, 2012 12:18 pm  

A swim with the dolphins facility is possibly planned for STT - Please sign the petition.......
http://www.thepetitionsite.com/374/581/305/say-no-to-captive-dolphins-in-the-us-virgin-islands/
Pia


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vicanuck
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August 11, 2012 12:15 pm  

I'm fully in favor...can we have one on STX too?

Maybe build it next to the waterpart and sports complex?


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stxem
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August 11, 2012 12:32 pm  

The process of capturing dolphins for shows/encounters like this is horrendous. These would probably not be "local" dolphins. Ever watch "The Cove"?

"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 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 speedboats who separate a few dolphins from the rest of the group, corral them with a net and close off the bottom. In a panic, the dolphins often injure themselves when they ram the net in an attempt to escape. Injury and death (usually by drowning) are common. The captured dolphins may then be subjected to traumatic travel in boats, shallow pens on trucks, or between countries on long-haul flights.

The removal of dolphins can be detrimental to the overall population. In particular, the taking of young females, the preferred catch of 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 dolphins."
http://www.wspa-usa.org/wspaswork/marinemammals/dolphinfaq.aspx


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dougtamjj
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August 11, 2012 1:10 pm  

We think capturing dolphins is just as disgusting as having a human captive. We have, however, visited the Dolphin Research Center in Marathon Florida. Stxem, do you have any input on this facility. We were told that this is a rescue facility and these beautiful creatures could not be released either because of their injuries or because they were born in captivity or actors, (flipper show). Do you know if this is true?

The military also uses trained dolphins.


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Neil
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August 11, 2012 2:27 pm  

I don't have a problem with dolphin encounters operations as long as they are humane, and the dolphins aren't terribly confined.

I also don't have a problem with taming horses and putting them in barns or making them pull a wagon, or training my dog to play with me.

I would hope the dolphin encounter would be part of an ocean education program.


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stxem
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August 11, 2012 3:05 pm  

Neil--Dogs and horses have been domesticated for thousands of years. Dogs have been selectively bred to live with humans. Ever try to get a tiger to sleep on the bed with you or play fetch? Most dogs will do so willingly and gratefully. Most horses are also bred for working with humans too. Horses that could never be broken in and ridden back in the day were probably not selected--only those who could be were kept and bred (ie artifically slection: selection for those traits that we, as humans, found favorable). Those "favorable" horses were the ancestors of todays horses.

But dolphins are wild animals--it's not a comparable situation. Keeping a healthy dolphins in captivity is never humane...they never have enough space as they would in the wild (where they swim 100+ miles per day). Also, dolphins and whales in the wild have very extensive family relationships, social hierarchy and there are high levels of communication between individuals. Removing a family member from these arrangements (their pods) causes serious mental problems and distress for both those who remain in the wild and in captivity. It's akin to being in jail for humans. This is not a fish with a small brain--they are highly intelligent animals with cognitive levels similar to primates.

Yes, some dolphins do okay. Yes, they can be trained. But it doesn't mean it is right.

Tami--I'm not too familiar with the Dolphin Research Center. Some animals cannot be re-released into the wild or need extensive rehab from injuries. For the dolphins that cannot be released, I think it is appropriate to keep them and use them for educational purposes. If they are released, they would probably die in the wild, and perhaps slowly from starvation if they cannot forage. The other alternative is to humanely put them to sleep. If the animal was obviously completely miserable, causing harm to itself or others, being out to sleep would be more humane than keeping it. But if the animal is doing okay, then being used for educational purposes could be a humane option too. I'm not sure what their policies are, but one hopes that they are as humane as can be. But just keeping them for shows and as a tourist attraction is wrong, IMO.


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OldTart
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August 11, 2012 3:17 pm  

Apart from that, anybody who's seen the foul conditions at the Tortola facility wouldn't have second thoughts unless they were totally blind.


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watruw8ing4
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August 11, 2012 3:31 pm  

I've seen The Cove. I've read the research articles. I've read about the broken promises that have been made to make this practice "more humane". I signed the petition and shared it on Facebook. Thanks for posting the link piaa.


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dougtamjj
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August 11, 2012 4:27 pm  

Thanks stxem. We did their trainer for a day program for JJs 6th birthday. We spent the entire day there starting with preparing food for each dolphin. Each had different dietary needs. (different kinds of fish and supplements). Several times a day a cooler for each dolphin is filled. We were given background information on each dolphin and why they were there. Some are permanant residents due to serious injury and some because they probably would not be able to survive in the wild as they were born in captivity and no longer have the instinct to hunt on their own. Some were actor dolphins, flipper tv show. I believe they have 4 or 5 of the flipper dolphins. We were able to observe and participate in the medical exam for two dolphins.

This research facility also rescues, treat and release injured dolphins. I was very impressed with them. Some of the dolphins do put on shows and do tricks but it is extremely strict with much emphasis on not stressing them out. They take small groups a few times a day. These shows consist of learning hand signals for the dolphins. A couple people at a time are allowed to interact in the water, such as touching the dolphin or having the dolphin take you for a ride. These "shows" are to raise money for the facility. They also work with mentally handicap people.

Their habitat is not a tank but a very large underwater enclosure in the ocean. It seemed to me at the time that they could jump over it if they wanted too. Not sure how that works. Though it was sad to see them in captivity it seemed to be a very well run humane facility with the health and well being of the dolphins being of uppermost importance. They have many grad students who volunteer there working towards their degree.

My favorite part was to witness the different personalities of those beautiful creatures. Some would disobey their trainers or play tricks on them. Sneaking up and splashing or coming up to the dock to be stroked. Three of them wanted to play with JJ while we were there and we had to take him away from the water as they would not listen to their trainers when he was around. He was imitating their clicks and whistles back to them. One trainer asked JJ what he was saying to them. He replied that he was telling them he wanted to stay there and live with them. Weird, I know. In any case, when a dolphin disobeyed all interaction between dolphins and humans stopped. No harsh words or hand signals for a period of time. Interesting. Sort of a time out.

It was a long, hard, (as we had to work), enjoyable, educational day. I hope they are what they seem to be.


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islandlovin
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August 11, 2012 7:11 pm  

Confused maybe I am missing something why is it ok that coral world has swimming with the turtles, sharks, sea lions and that is ok?Again maybe I am missing an important part of the dolphins?


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stxem
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August 11, 2012 8:18 pm  

Confused maybe I am missing something why is it ok that coral world has swimming with the turtles, sharks, sea lions and that is ok?Again maybe I am missing an important part of the dolphins?

Different species? Different requirements for captivity? Completely different behavior patterns?

Notice for the sharks they are not keeping adult hammerheads or tiger sharks, only small juveniles that do well in captivity. The turtles at coral world were rescued and rehabbed turtles and would not do well back in the wild. Sea lions do a bit better in captivity (they are more like dogs, cognitive-wise), but I still do not think it is right for them to be kept in captivity either. They are wild animals.

The problem with dolphins, as I posted above, is HOW they are caught from the wild and that captivity can never mimic their natural environment. Some dolphins have even committed suicide in captivity by drowning themselves or repeatedly slamming their heads against their tanks. (They also committ suicide in the wild too when faced with a panic event--like underwater detonation noises and missile noises. These noises completly mess up their ears and echolocation senses).
Source to read:
http://www.humanesociety.org/issues/captive_marine/facts/marine_captivity.html


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Ms Information
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August 12, 2012 1:30 am  

whoa... This is a major situation, that needs to be addressed on many different levels.

If you love the oceans and beaches and animals of the Virgin Islands you should have one response...NO...NO....NO

How could any responsible person say it is ok to capture and subjugate an intelligent sea creature like a dolphin. Just because we are stronger and bigger does not give us the right to capture and use for own enjoyment these amazing mammals.

I admit that I have been entertained by dolphins swimming around a Casino pool with young peolple hanging in their back.. But then I ask myself... Did the dolphins volunteer or was she paid for her performance. duh...duh...

What if you or I were captured and sent out to swim around a pool to entertain the gamblers and vacationeers. Yeh, I know, few woiuld pay to see you or me swim around a smelly Tank But what if U had a special skill ??. Would U then be more marketable?? Maybe we could catch Michael Phelps and have him swim around some tank....

Other islands have allowed this...even stt, but is time to put a stop to the kidnapping and subjugation of swimming mammals.


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AandA2VI
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August 12, 2012 5:48 am  

Neil--Dogs and horses have been domesticated for thousands of years. Dogs have been selectively bred to live with humans. Ever try to get a tiger to sleep on the bed with you or play fetch? Most dogs will do so willingly and gratefully. Most horses are also bred for working with humans too. Horses that could never be broken in and ridden back in the day were probably not selected--only those who could be were kept and bred (ie artifically slection: selection for those traits that we, as humans, found favorable). Those "favorable" horses were the ancestors of todays horses.

But dolphins are wild animals--it's not a comparable situation. Keeping a healthy dolphins in captivity is never humane...they never have enough space as they would in the wild (where they swim 100+ miles per day). Also, dolphins and whales in the wild have very extensive family relationships, social hierarchy and there are high levels of communication between individuals. Removing a family member from these arrangements (their pods) causes serious mental problems and distress for both those who remain in the wild and in captivity. It's akin to being in jail for humans. This is not a fish with a small brain--they are highly intelligent animals with cognitive levels similar to primates.

Yes, some dolphins do okay. Yes, they can be trained. But it doesn't mean it is right.

Tami--I'm not too familiar with the Dolphin Research Center. Some animals cannot be re-released into the wild or need extensive rehab from injuries. For the dolphins that cannot be released, I think it is appropriate to keep them and use them for educational purposes. If they are released, they would probably die in the wild, and perhaps slowly from starvation if they cannot forage. The other alternative is to humanely put them to sleep. If the animal was obviously completely miserable, causing harm to itself or others, being out to sleep would be more humane than keeping it. But if the animal is doing okay, then being used for educational purposes could be a humane option too. I'm not sure what their policies are, but one hopes that they are as humane as can be. But just keeping them for shows and as a tourist attraction is wrong, IMO.

I totally agree!! I've been on 6 cruises and always wanted to swim with dolphins at the various ports but I just could NEVER support it. My mission when I move to STX is to swim with wild dolphins. I thinks Its so terrible the way some are caught. Caring for nature like I do, literally makes me tear up, I couldn't even watch the cove in full. The babies, oh god. These are such social animals and being stripped from their families and forced to tote humans around is so wrong. I also posted this on FB. It's terrible. I think rehabilitating and keeping permanently injured dolphins is another story. Oh and to say that dolphins are smart is a UNDERSTATEMENT, I meet at LEAST a dozen people a day (I work retail) that I know are much less intelligent than dolphins lol.


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Jamison
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August 12, 2012 1:18 pm  

I am completely against anything like this, although I am also against zoos, aquariums and eat little to no animals.

I like free things and happy things and if I ever get to swim with a dolphin, it's because I was lucky enough to have them decide to do it and that is what will make it special.

Earthlings is a great documentary about Specieism, but be warned about it's extremely graphic nature.


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Neil
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August 13, 2012 12:06 am  

I like zoos as long as the habitats are good. We have lots of research data on primates that thrive being "subjugated" in modern zoo settings.

My dog is is smarter than a dolphin and more friendly. He resents the suggestion that he is beneath a dolphin or is subjugated. Indeed, he has us perfectly trained.


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Jamison
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August 13, 2012 5:05 am  

I don't believe we are smarter than dolphins, let alone our dogs.

And I love dogs.


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vicanuck
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August 13, 2012 12:16 pm  

I've been to the dolphin facility on Tortola.

Although the actual buildings and facilities aren't super impressive, the experience was good and dolphins seemed healthy and happy.


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Neil
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August 13, 2012 1:33 pm  

I don't believe we are smarter than dolphins, let alone our dogs.

And I love dogs.

No disagreeing there! 🙂

I understand why some people are against such enterprises, and shudder to think how "well done" it won't be done, given the lack of regulatory oversight in the islands. I've swam with dolphins both in the wild and in a lagoon. Trained dolphins seem to enjoy human interaction. Zoos and aquariums have a big role to play in saving the planet and its animals, including the human animals.


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Matt T
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August 13, 2012 1:42 pm  

vicanuck: Based on your posts on this forum you are a real piece of work and I would say the type of person the Virgin Islands would be better off without. You should go back to Canada.

I signed the petition and agree that capturing dolphins to place in captavity for our entertainment is wrong on all accounts. But then again this country and many others was founded on slavery so it just goes to show you that the human species is manipulative and has some very bad genetics/mindsets that continue to reproduce.


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islandjoan
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August 13, 2012 2:52 pm  

Is there any way we can find out what type of dolphin program they plan to implement at Coral World?

ie. will it be humane and will they only have injured/sick dolphins to rehabilitate similar to the Dolphin Research Center in Marathon, FL (which I visited years ago with my sister)?

or

will it be inhumane, with captured dolphins?

I could try calling Coral World but they might already know there's a petition out there, and they might not offer info over the phone. So does anyone have an idea otherwise how to find out?


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ms411
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August 13, 2012 3:48 pm  

I think Coral World will soon be making a statement with more details. I did hear from a reliable source that Coral World will have second generation captivity dolphins - not captured dolphins.


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Jamison
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August 13, 2012 7:32 pm  

It's an intelligent creature. Smarter than we know. If it's not a domesticated dolphin, I can't imagine how sophisticated their prison would be.


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watruw8ing4
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August 13, 2012 7:57 pm  

I think Coral World will soon be making a statement with more details. I did hear from a reliable source that Coral World will have second generation captivity dolphins - not captured dolphins.

That doesn't make it right. And what's their excuse about health and safety issues?

http://www.compassionatetravel.org/pages/3780_dolphins_in_captivity.cfm


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blu4u
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August 13, 2012 11:36 pm  

I think Coral World will soon be making a statement with more details. I did hear from a reliable source that Coral World will have second generation captivity dolphins - not captured dolphins.

That doesn't make it right. And what's their excuse about health and safety issues?

http://www.compassionatetravel.org/pages/3780_dolphins_in_captivity.cfm

watruw8, What R U trying to infer? That CW is inhumane? Seriously?

Piaa, BEFORE y'all start slamming Coral World, ya might wanna check some facts.
Coral World is basically a charity "labor of love", from of the VI's most successful families (and most generous by giving away millions to VI causes). A true example of "giving back" to the island and the community they love. Most of the work is education and research oriented, including reef restoration projects and sea animal rehabilitation. The facility provides jobs and educational park geared toward enviromental education and promoting stewardship vaules for tourist and locals alike--a means of stimulating the ecomony and doing good at the same time. Have you ever been to Coral World. Have you voulenteered for one of Coral World restoration projects? Have you attended any of the educational programs? Do you Know of any of college student interns who work rehabiliting marine life? What exactly makes you qualified to bash coral world? What facts are you privy too?
Coral World is contiually recognized by the EPA for enviomental protection accomplishments.
The glaring negitive hostile tone based upon stupid assumtions on this forum has reached an all time high.
Additionaly less then 5% of your petion's signers thrir homes as VI. How many from STT? I would suspect that most knowelgable VIers are waiting to hear the truth before dragging an excelent nieghbors reputation thru the dirt. Prehaps you should do the same.


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watruw8ing4
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August 14, 2012 2:46 am  

I think Coral World will soon be making a statement with more details. I did hear from a reliable source that Coral World will have second generation captivity dolphins - not captured dolphins.

That doesn't make it right. And what's their excuse about health and safety issues?

http://www.compassionatetravel.org/pages/3780_dolphins_in_captivity.cfm

watruw8, What R U trying to infer? That CW is inhumane? Seriously?

Piaa, BEFORE y'all start slamming Coral World, ya might wanna check some facts.
Coral World is basically a charity "labor of love", from of the VI's most successful families (and most generous by giving away millions to VI causes). A true example of "giving back" to the island and the community they love. Most of the work is education and research oriented, including reef restoration projects and sea animal rehabilitation. The facility provides jobs and educational park geared toward enviromental education and promoting stewardship vaules for tourist and locals alike--a means of stimulating the ecomony and doing good at the same time. Have you ever been to Coral World. Have you voulenteered for one of Coral World restoration projects? Have you attended any of the educational programs? Do you Know of any of college student interns who work rehabiliting marine life? What exactly makes you qualified to bash coral world? What facts are you privy too?
Coral World is contiually recognized by the EPA for enviomental protection accomplishments.
The glaring negitive hostile tone based upon stupid assumtions on this forum has reached an all time high.
Additionaly less then 5% of your petion's signers thrir homes as VI. How many from STT? I would suspect that most knowelgable VIers are waiting to hear the truth before dragging an excelent nieghbors reputation thru the dirt. Prehaps you should do the same.

I inferred nothing. You inferred that my opinion implied that Coral World is inhumane. (thus ends today's vocabulary lesson). Anyway,

Yay for Coral World!!! So let them keep their stellar reputation by not imprisoning, dolphins, endangering their health, or shortening their lives. Otherwise, yes . . . Inhumane is a good word.

I'm not certain what stupid assumptions are being made here. Does Coral World not already have sea lion encounter attractions? Don't they advertise that they are an interactive facility? Are you saying that the dolphinarium is only being requested for containment for rehabilitation only and not SWD? Seems like the notion that they are opening a SWD is a pretty safe assumption to me. And that's going to lead to negativity on this very sore subject. If, of course, it turns out that dolphins will only contained to rehab them with no unnatural human interaction, I'll retract. But I bet my first born that won't be the case.


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