Dolphins are among the most complex and intelligent species on the planet. They are self-aware and have the ability to recognize themselves in a mirror and notice changes in their appearance. And just like us, they have deep social and emotional bonds with their pod members. Studies have also shown that dolphins have personalized whistles for members in the pod, similar to how humans give each other names. Despite all of this, we continue to keep dolphins in marine parks for the sake of our paltry entertainment.
The demand for live animals in marine parks and aquariums across the world has lead to the perpetuation of the cruel Taiji dolphin drives. Every year, a group of fishermen swarms into the infamous “cove” located in Taiji, Japan, and herds wild dolphins into their nets. Once captured, some dolphins are beaten and killed to become meat (a delicacy that no one really eats anymore) and the other “pretty” ones are sold into captivity.
In a photo shared on Facebook by Sea Shepherd Cove Guardians, a juvenile Bottlenose dolphin is seen trying to jump out of the enclosure in Taiji. This is NOT okay.
These holding tanks are a tiny fraction of the space these animals enjoy in the wild, so dolphins and other marine animals become understandably bored and frustrated by this stale life. When sentenced to a life in captivity, dolphins will sometimes exhibit stereotypical behaviors such as swimming in circles repetitively and lying motionless on the surface or floor of their tanks for long periods of time. In some heartbreaking instances, dolphins have chosen to stop breathing and end their own lives.
But we can stand up to this abuse by refusing to patronize marine parks. Once these facilities stop profiting from showing animals, they will close up shop. If you agree that dolphins deserve so much better, please join the #EmptyTheTanks movement on social media and share this article.
Image Source: Sea Shepherd Cove Guardians Official Page/Facebook