Dolphins may not be able to speak our language, but their actions speak louder than words. The dolphin in this video had a lot to say, and it was clearly along the lines of “I don’t belong here.” Watching this poor being choose to end it all rather than live in a ridiculously small tank is not only heartbreaking but understandable. Dolphins are one of the most intelligent species on the planet (and in some facets, smarter than humans!) so being forced to perform silly stunts and tricks for human entertainment is beyond degrading. It’s no wonder there have been many records of captive cetacean suicide attempts!
While the audience seems to show concern for the escaped dolphin, they obviously have no idea what these poor creatures endure – otherwise, they wouldn’t be there to begin with. Aquariums and marine parks work hard to make people believe these animals are happy, but nothing could be further from the truth, as witnessed in the video.
Captive dolphins (and other marine life) are often torn from their families, forced into tanks a fraction of the size of their wild habitat, coerced into performing tricks, and deprived of any sort of natural or happy life. As a result, they suffer a tremendous amount of stress, pain, and abuse. Additionally, they are also kept hungry so that they respond to trainers’ directives to perform for food.
This life of servitude and cramped space has spawned many cases of frustrated marine life turning on each other, with bullied individuals suffering bite and rake marks. One particular SeaWorld orca named Morgan has been filmed repeatedly beaching herself during shows in an attempt to escape the aggression of her tank mates.
Signs of suffering also include a psychological condition called zoochosis. Signs of zoochosis seen in captive marine life include swimming in circles repetitively, establishing pecking orders, and lying motionless at the surface or on the aquarium floor for relatively long periods of time. Dolphins have been known to slam themselves against the sides of their tanks’ concrete walls.
Thanks to documentaries like Blackfish and The Cove, people are becoming more aware of the plight of captive marine life, but more needs to be done. You can help by pledging to never go to or support marine parks, supporting organizations that are fighting to free the tanks, and by spreading awareness of the plight of captive marine life.