There are many reasons why it is best for dolphins to remain in their natural habitat. People go to dolphin aquariums not knowing what dolphins go through. If you have questions like, “How are dolphins treated in captivity?” and “How long do dolphins live in captivity?” This article will enlighten you!
1. Dolphins Belong in the Ocean with Their Family
Dolphins have unique whistles or calls that serve as their social interaction. They travel for miles and they teach each other survival techniques so that they can survive in the wild. You can say that they have evolved to thrive in the vast expanse of the ocean. Dolphinariums couldn’t match the needs that dolphins have.
Dolphin tricks may be entertaining to watch, but they harm the dolphins. They can acquire injuries if they do it for a long time. Performing tricks is unnatural and not part of their nature. There are times that dolphins in captivity react aggressively and harm marine park visitors.
2. Dolphins Are Controlled by Their Food
Dolphins require lots of food because they are big animals. However, dolphin trainers control the food that they get. They reward one fish per trick that dolphins obey. Even if they are full, dolphins are conditioned to follow orders.
There are times when newly captured dolphins are deprived of food until they obey orders from the trainer. Dolphin trainers see food deprivation as “positive reinforcement” or “operant conditioning”. This is done to teach dolphins new behaviors or new tricks.
3. Dolphins in Captivity Have Shorter Life Spans
As mentioned, dolphins reach their prime in the ocean. They commonly live for as long as 50 years. A dolphin in captivity is lucky if it reaches even half of its typical life span. They tend to fall into stress and depression when they no longer have the freedom to roam the ocean.
On top of that, the water in a dolphin aquarium is different from the ocean’s water. Too much chlorine isn’t good for them. Also, dolphins in the wild eat fresh marine life but when they’re stuck in a dolphinarium, they’re forced to eat dead fish. There are cases where dolphins commit self-harm, suicide, and incest which is completely far from their nature.
4. Dolphin Aquariums Are Far from What the Ocean Has to Offer
Dolphins require a gigantic space to swim and roam around. Dolphinariums are not deep and wide enough to allow dolphins to do that. Some dolphinariums have no shade where dolphins can shelter themselves when the heat of the sun is too much to bear.
A dolphin may seem happy when you see them in dolphin shows but evidence suggests that when a show is over, dolphins stop moving and appear lifeless. Needless to say, dolphinariums are cruel and it seriously impacts a dolphin’s emotional and psychological state.
5. Dolphins in Captivity Are Caught from the Wild
Here’s another reason why dolphins should not be kept in captivity. It proves to be difficult for dolphins in captivity to reproduce. Hence, marine parks opt to capture dolphins in the wild for dolphin shows. This also happens frequently because dolphins die earlier than they should.
Being intelligent mammals, dolphins know when one of the members of their pod is gone and they usually mourn the loss of their own. When capturing dolphins, it is possible that dolphins get hurt or worse, killed.
6. Dolphins Don’t Do Well in Isolation
Dolphins have their own pod with their own language and culture. When they’re forced to join a new pod of dolphins in marine parks, they often feel lonely, confused, and stressed. Often, this stress is enough to cause ulcers. Marine parks go to the extent of giving them anti-depressant medications to help them adjust to their new life in captivity. They will not be able to have a decent life in dolphinariums.
These are only a few of the reasons why dolphins should not be held in captivity. They’re majestic animals who deserve to have a life outside aquariums. They are intelligent and they, too, have feelings such as empathy and grief.
If you wish to see dolphins up-close and you don’t want to visit dolphin aquariums, we, at Sunshine Scenic Tours, can provide you the best dolphin cruise in St. Pete Beach, FL. We make sure that dolphins are not harmed during any activity. We give instructions not to feed or touch the dolphins without supervision. If this is something that you would want to experience, contact us now!