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Gender: Female
Home country: USA
Member since: 2002
Number of posts: 11,012

Journal Archives

What Captive Bottlenose Dolphins Have Taught Us – Part 1

I spent the first half of my twenties working in marine biology, in research, education, and entertainment. That was several decades ago and one of the facilities no longer exists. In research, I worked in the lab across the hall from David and Melba Caldwell. They were very interesting people (She told me she couldn't stand Mozart... "all tinkle, tinkle, tinkle sounds" ).

Once in a while, after my work day was done, I would go play catch with the dolphins. They had basket balls to play with and enjoyed playing with people. I always ended up soaking wet after one of those sessions... They would make sure to gulp a big mouthful of water before hurling the ball and the water to me. Then they would tail dance on the water making sounds that sure sounded like laughter to me.

The complex I worked for was dedicated to marine mammal protection and had stopped capturing, buying, or otherwise acquiring wild dolphins by the time I worked there. Any new dolphins were acquired from birth. The complex put a lot of time, expense, and effort into rescuing stranded dolphins, porpoises, and small whales (pilot, pygmy sperm whales, etc.). Most of the time, by the time these whales and dolphins beached themselves, they were too sick to save despite all efforts to do so. But when they were able to be saved, they were rehabilitated and released back into the ocean.

I visited Sea World after working in the smaller complex for a while, and I immediately hated it. It was slick and polished; the showmanship was impressive. The tourists were treated like cattle and there was minimal, if any, attempt to educate them about marine mammals. While I'm sure that the individuals who worked with the marine mammals developed a caring relationship with them, one did not get the feeling that those up the corporate ladder, or even those who worked in the park, but away from the whales and dolphins, had the same. Pretty much the opposite of the complex I worked in where the top brass (under the Board of Directors) all had worked their way up from the bottom rungs of the complex, and those who worked in the park could do as I did after their work hours.

I learned the history of the complex, which, for many years was the expert, first and last word, in dolphin research and knowledge. In the early days, dolphins were not considered much more than exotic fish. The early research (several decades before my time there) was horrific (in my opinion -- they were not tortured, but they were killed so dissection could be done). in light of what we now know about them now. It was not long before knowledge of dolphins and smaller whales evolved -- and with it standards of treatment toward dolphins and whales at this facility.

From history, I have come to believe that marine parks should not keep marine mammals. Marine mammals that have been born in captivity, and who have never lived in the wild present a problem. I don't know if they can be taught how to survive in the open ocean. They are very intelligent, but it seems to me it would be like taking an undocumented person who was brought to the US as a baby being deported, without the language, the knowledge of customs or culture, and without a support system, to the land of their birth. That person might survive and thrive. And might not.

I came across this article regarding what we have learned from dolphins in captivity. I guess the question is, could we humancentrics have learned to love and respect dolphins and whales without this knowledge. And how do we put a stop to putting all animals in captivity?

The author plans to "confront the ethical arguments related to captive research" in future articles.


Introduction: Early History and the Study of Dolphin Communication

Aquariums can take credit for first brining dolphins and whales to the world’s attention as remarkable mammals that have family life and social behaviour analogous to other mammals. Before this these animals were seen merely as sources of meat, oil and leather products. -Professor Murray A. Newman co-founder of the Vancouver Aquarium (1994)

Imagine a world without Flipper (or my generational equivalent, Darwin from Sea Quest DSV), without aquariums and without a concept of smart, social dolphins. Before the first half of the 20th century this was the world we lived in. It was a world without a Marine Mammal Protection Act that treated marine mammals as commodities if they could be exploited and nuisances if they could not be commercialized.

There was no campaign to “Save the Whales” and no impetus to want to protect these animals in the wild. This reality changed when the first captive dolphins, taken to be little more than background scenery in underwater adventure films, charmed us with a gregariousness and affability that soon drove millions to want to see them up close and in person.

In this first article, I will address the early history of captive research as well as how the study of dolphin communication is informed by captive studies. Each part of this series will explore the role captive animals have played in our understanding of their wild counterparts as well as how our opinions of dolphins have been shaped by our interactions with zoo housed individuals. I will also consider the role captive animals still have play in developing our understanding of evolution, cognition, ecology and conservation.
More at link

Honor Student Kills Himself After School Officials Tell Him He "Ruined His Life" by Smoking Weed


Hayden Long, a 16-year-old sophomore student at a high school in Ohio, took his own life after reportedly enduring verbal attacks from school officials after being accused of "smelling like" weed. Following Long's tragic passing, his friend and classmate Hank Sigel wrote an open letter placing the bulk of the blame on those school officials and local police. Sigel recounts that administrators told Hayden he had "ruined his life" by smoking weed, adding that he and other students "would fail their classes" and had made the "biggest mistake of their life."

Sigel and Long were reportedly among six teenagers, described as honor students and athletes, accused of smoking weed before a school dance. The students were then interrogated by two Geneva High School administrators and one off-duty police officer, according to Raw Story. Sigel's open letter, which was widely shared across social media, tells the story of a very misguided and downright maddening approach to discipline:

(link to letter: http://imgur.com/yU6jAYU )

Famous Faces of Alzheimer's

Tour bus politics: Bernie! Bernie!

Living in a tourist Mecca, it's inevitable that I would be acquainted with quite a few tour guides. One I know, we'll call him Jon, told of this incident.

Jon had a tour bus group of fifty-five older tourists last week. During a lull in the tour, one gentleman asked Jon, "So, who are you going to vote for?"

Jon, being no fool, anwered, "I can't answer that, sir."

"Why not?"

"Well if I did, I could be immediately fired for politicing on the job." (A bit of an exageration, but still a possibility if a political conversation with tourists got heated.)

The tourist then said very definitely, "Well, I'm voting for Bernie!"

Several other people on the bus spoke up then: "Me, too!" "So am I!"

Jon said that about half of the people on the bus didn't know about Bernie and asked about him. At which point those who knew about Bernie started a narrative of who Bernie is, what he stands for, and his record. At the end of the narrative, people in the group were saying, "Wow! He sounds like what we need!" I'm voting for Bernie! "I am too!"

The group did an impromptu chorus of "BerNIE! BerNIE! BerNIE!"

Jon then turned to the gentleman who started the conversation and mouthed, "I am too."

And the interlude was over; it was time for some tour guiding again.

One woman's strength is helping refugees in Macedonia

I cannot embed this video link because it is on Facebook... I've tried to find it on YouTube, but to no avail.

It is well worth the five and a half minutes it takes to watch.

It is said that the root of the refugee crisis in Europe is the result of the Iraq war... extrapolate.


Al Jazeera English
"I'm doing this because I have never seen so many people on the street.. pregnant women, and babies, and sick old men. No one is helping them."

The smiling face that greets refugees when they get to the Greece-Macedonia border is that of Gabriela Andreevska. She welcomes them, feeds them, and sends them on their way to the EU feeling like human beings.

Filmed by Matthew Cassel

Follow our refugee coverage: http://bit.ly/1KYl3vH

So, I was at the laundromat doing a months worth of laundry today...

I was leaning deep into a dryer when I heard someone say "Bernie" which was about the only thing of that conversation I heard until "gonna win in New Hampshire!"

So I pulled my head out of the dryer and asked, "Did I hear you say Bernie Sanders?" with my thumb up. There were about six adults (not together) in the room ages ranging from the twenties to somewhere in middle age. An enthusiastic "Yeah!" was returned and someone whooped when they saw my thumbs up. Everyone was smiling.

That might not seem like much, but I live in a very red area of northeast Florida. It is very rare to hear any positive conversations about Democrats or liberal types in this area. And most folks aren't even talking about the 2016 candidates yet.

I can't remember any time since I've been voting that people have been smiling happily about any candidate. Good things are happening, folks!

Migrant Offshore Aid Station: Saving migrant lives at sea

MOAS web site: http://www.moas.eu/

World Wildlife Sanctuary: Fox Resuce

Donald Trump's hair runs off to find a better life.

The Katrina Myth; the Truth about a thoroughly unnatural disaster

A fellow Floridian recently sent me this Youtube video. While I don't know anything about the veracity of the people who made this video, I've heard much of what is said here in various other places. And living in the geographical area that I do, I have seen, over the last forty years, the damage that the Army Corp of Engineers have done to the coastal area, including rivers and shore line, with the indiscriminate dredging of the Intracoastal Waterway.

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