Most of us who love animals have had pets that we can play and snuggle with, puppies, cats, bunnies, and hamsters. So the allure of wanting to play and be with a dolphin is very understandable, even if they live in a different habitat than we do. Dolphins have incredibly sweet eyes and smooth, hard boiled egg like skin. We have seen them in movies like Flipper and shows at Sea Parks. The tide, however, is beginning to turn for these sea mammals that we once regarded as big fish.
Research like that performed by Dolphin Scientist Diana Reiss (Dr. Reiss's recent Ted Talk: http://bit.ly/16018JH) and others is proving that dolphins are not just big puppy dogs in the sea. They are thinking intelligent, emotional mammals much like we are. Dolphins exhibit extreme grief at the loss of a baby, socialize as we do and are highly intelligent. Most of us who have once worked or swam with dolphins in captivity reach a point where we realize the inhumanity of keeping these mammals in small chlorinated pools for our own entertainment. Famed dolphin trainer, Rick O'Barry made a radical life change when a captive dolphin he trained died in his arms. He now leads efforts to prevent the capturing and slaughtering of dolphins in Tajii, Japan and was featured in the Academy Award winning film, The Cove.
Momentum is building to eliminate captive dolphin and whale programs. A movie called, Blackfish, premiered at the most recent Sundance Festival and received great acclaim ( http://blackfishmovie.com ). The film tells the behind the scenes stories about captive orcas. India recently announced that it is considering a ban on Dolphin Captivity (http://huff.to/12nvgrT) via: Huffington Post. Petitions to pledge not to buy a ticket to a dolphinarium are spreading.
In my novel, 'I Know You're There', I incorporated some personal experiences and information of ocean issues. I have helped to train captive dolphins and swam with captive dolphins once in my past. I have also had the most humbling experience of having a wild dolphin join me in the ocean while swimming multiple times. I have seen dolphins swim right up to the shore while I was simply walking along a beach. Honestly, there is no better way to experience dolphins than in their own habitat. Let's hope they are allowed to be free.
Note: Swimming with dolphins in the wild off the shores in America is illegal.