Dolphins in confinement

I refer to Annalise Falzon’s letter Marine Mammals Kept In Captivity (September 16) and completely agree with her. It is a fact that most dolphins in dolphinariums are forcefully captured and separated from their families. They are then placed in an artificial and confined environment and cannot leave. In my opinion, they are practically in a prison and are there only for our pleasure. I find it arrogant of us humans to do this to animals (and sadly not only with dolphins but also to animals in zoos and birds in cages).

I would also like to refer to the common misconception that dolphins enjoy playing water polo or whatever circus antics they are taught. While it is certainly true that dolphins are very intelligent creatures, many do not realise that the circus antics they are taught to perform are taught through the technique of “shaping”, whereby the desired behaviour is obtained through a reward system using hunger and food as the tools (the bucket of fish). The process is stressful and, in my opinion, unnecessary.

I’m sure that many, if not most, people prefer to see them in their natural habitats, free and with their families, happily jumping out of the water, greeting us when we pass by on our boats and not in captivity in an artificial environment, forced to perform circus antics.

Also worth mentioning is the fact that these creatures are known to save humans who are being attacked by sharks. I think it’s embarassing for us humans that in return we do this to them.


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