Posting in alt.animals.dolphins
Video Documentation in German TV(SAT1 - Planetopia) about the petting pool of Sea World Orlando, Florida
Translation by Ulrich Reinartz Copyright ©1999
Speaker:"In a relative small bassin are swimming 11 Dolphins(Tursiops) so close to hundreds of visitors that they are able to touch them. The opportunity to touch a dolphin is being sold."
Viktor Marisch, Sea World Orlando:"We give the people the chance to come very close to the dolphins. Here they can touch the dolphins, play with them, feed them."
Speaker:"This kind of animal love has bad effects on the dolphins. The massive contact with humans causes conspicious behaviours."
Courtney Stark, Wildlife Biologist:"Typical situations have been recorded on video and were analyzed. This first example here shows dolphins who bite (4 situations showing dolphins who bite in the hands of children). Usually a dolphin doesn't bite the feeding hand. Our investigations show that this is the result of the enormous stress, caused by the permanent contact trials of the visitors. The dolphins react this way, because the people irritate them with fish. They hold it above the dolphins snout, but they don't give it to them immeadeatly. This increases the stress level and the competition between the dolphins."
Speaker:"The guards intervene only in emergency situations. The visitors shall keep nice memories of the interactions. A moderator entertains the people and informs about the interaction rules, but the well meant advices often seem to function as an alibi, because in the heat of the situation, many people don't even hear what the guards are talking about (video shows a man who puts a fish skeleton into a dolphins mouth). The feeding with rests of fish is dangerous for the dolphins. The fishbones of broken fishes may cause injuries in the throat and in the stomach."
Courtney Stark:"The constant bombardment by human touch by noise as for example knocking on the pool walls and the irritation with fish results in aggression. Why do the dolphins bump against the concrete walls although the have this sophisticated echolocation system? The contact with humans did cause permanent damage in the social behaviour in this pool. They swim against the walls, they drown their offsprings (video shows a dolphin who prevents an other one of breathing). And these are only a few of the behaviours, we had catalogued."
Speaker:"A paper cup is used by this visitor to attract the dolphin. Obviously she doesn't know that it could do harm to the dolphin when it comes into the stomach. The visitors use also other objects to attract or irritate the dolphins. These sunglasses could cause big problems(video shows a man who puts his glasses into the dolphins mouth). The trainers just try to let the dolphins learn not to destroy objects by biting, but they don't intervene."
Viktor Marisch, Sea World Orlando:"Of course, it's dangerous here but objects also fall into the water in the wild. We don't want to intervene. We ask the people not to put objects into the pool and we hope they won't, as well as we hope that they don't throw objects into the sea."
Speaker:"Even under the water surface, the dolphins can't find silence. A big underwater window makes it possible for the visitors to observe the dolphins. The knocking against the window(little girl strikes with both hands against the window) is going to be amplified in the water. This dolphin (lying motionless on the pool bottom) reacts apathic. The highly sensitive senses of the dolphins are overloaded by the constant acoustic bombardement. In north america do exist five petting pools of this kind, with the tendency to open more of them, because they are a big business for the organizers. Animal protector are afraid of this.
Courtney Stark:"These kinds of human/dolphin interactions are not right. Positive encounters are only possible in the wild, where the dolphins can decide wether they want to stay with the people or not."
(URL displayed at the end of the documentation: http://www.wdcs.org
So long, -ULISSES-