We’ve lost count of the times captive marine animals have expressed to us how miserable they are trapped in marine park tanks. Orcas have beached themselves for absurdly long periods of time, many have desperately gnawed at tank gates, and some (overcome with boredom) resorted to simply floating on top of the water, motionless. Captive marine animals, like orcas and dolphins, exhibit this behavior because they are not mindless animals, they are intelligent, incredibly emotional, and capable of extreme, sometimes even suicidal, measures when severely depressed. Despite these facts, marine parks insist on keeping these perceptive creatures incarcerated.

Dolphins don’t just take all of their abuse lying down, though. Being the smart creatures that they are, they sometimes strike back at the park’s gawking guests and even attempt escape. Earlier this month we witnessed a dolphin snatch an iPad from a woman who was inching a bit too close to the tank, and in this case, we see a dolphin in Panama City’s Gulf World Marine Park leap out of her tank in front of a crowd of people!

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We would say that we are surprised that this scene unfolded, but we’re not … at all. Dolphins are some of the most intelligent creatures in the world and are extremely self-aware. In the wild, they live multifaceted lives and have deep social and emotional bonds with their pod members. Dolphins have large and highly developed brains that allow them to learn and adjust to their surroundings. Dolphins have even demonstrated the ability to mimic human speech and vocalizations. The dolphin in the video above is acting just like any human who was trapped in a tank would act – frustrated and desperate to escape.

Although we can’t go to marine parks and give these beautiful creatures freedom ourselves, we can still help them get the liberation they deserve by boycotting all marine parks and sharing videos like this one to raise awareness! It is up to all of us to give this species the respect they deserve. It’s time to #EmptyTheTanks!

Image source: nikki/vine