Interspecies communication

dolphin-wide

I graduated from university as the recession hurled into full swing. The prospect of getting any job (never mind a GOOD one) was meager. Having done all the right things and gotten all of the right grades to assure my post-educational success, it was a disheartening time.

Achingly passionate about all that I’d learned at university, I just wanted to put my degrees to work. I finally found a short term, part-time gig teaching tourists about dolphins and whales. However, the facility that hired me kept captive dolphins. It was bizarre to watch the dolphin trainers, usually beachy blonde haired women, proclaim their undying love for dolphins, but never question the issue of captivity.

It was always a moral dilemma to work there, to see sentient beings kept confined and obviously bored. But I hoped to work my way over to the marine rescue and rehabilitation arm of the facility.

When tourist season subsided and they no longer needed me, it was an easy job to walk away from. The main lesson I learned from taking that job was this:

Dolphins are capable of bridging the language gap outside of their own species. You see the limited results of this at any captive dolphin show. Humans are endlessly impressed that dolphins can understand!

But we can’t.

Greg-Huglin-2

Humans have yet to understand any inkling of what dolphins communicate through their intricate language.

I don’t mean to imply that dolphins are smarter than humans; or that humans are smarter than dolphins.

Just that all species have different sensitivities, means, and capacities for communicating. And that we tend to be poor listeners.

…………….

 

Don’t support places that have captive dolphins. Spend time in the ocean and have an authentic experience.

 

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5 Comments

    1. hi Sam,

      Thanks for taking the time to write. It’s great to have dialogue about these issues.

      I know we are told by these facilities that they are for research, but I can’t help but wonder if we couldn’t learn more by studying species in their natural habitat, where they behave normally and are not under constant stress from noise pollution and confinement as they are in captivity.

      Is it even relevant to extrapolate information and make sweeping generalizations based on individuals that have been taken from their natural habitat?

      From my experience, the vast majority of these facilities are motivated by profit, not the well-being and understanding of species.

  1. As a surfer, I love to see the dolphins nearby. The myth goes, “dolphins scare away sharks.” Don’t know if it’s true, but I like to think so. A couple of sunsets ago five dolphins feasted in the surf lineup. Although, one of the fins swam like a shark…

  2. Dolphins in captivity life, on average, for about three years.

    As for dolphins scaring away sharks, they’re both are hunting the same food, fish

    So where there are dolphins, they’ll be sharks

    Doesn’t mean either should be killed.

  3. Dolphins in captivity live, on average, for about three years.

    As for dolphins scaring away sharks, they’re both are hunting the same food, fish

    So where there are dolphins, they’ll be sharks

    Doesn’t mean either should be killed

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