Thursday, January 6, 2011


Our question this month was asked by Victoria from Fort Myers, Florida. Victoria's question is: "Is it harmful for the dolphins to keep them in captivity?" And again, this is a wonderful question from one of our younger visitors. So, let's see if we can help Victoria, and all of you, understand the elements involved in keeping a dolphin in captivity.
What does it mean to "keep a dolphin in captivity"? Well, simply put, it means keeping them in as a kind of pet. Just as we would keep fish in a fish tank or a bird in a birdcage, dolphins are kept in dolphin tanks - which can be as big as a football field. But these tanks are not the dolphin's natural environment, so there are a lot of risks and possible problems that can occur. But the people who are responsible for taking care of the captive dolphins know these risks and do all they can to plan for each one to ensure that the dolphin is healthy, happy, and can survive just as well in captivity as he/she would in the wild.
Some of the most famous "captive" dolphins are those seen at local aquatic shows - like as Sea World. These dolphins have been trained to follow simple commands to perform various tricks or actions. For example, when the dolphin trainer blows on a high pitched whistle the dolphin may jump out of the water and spin several times before making a big splash. Or, if you've ever watched these dolphin trainers, they will sometimes give the dolphin commands by moving their hands in a certain motion, signaling the dolphin to again do another wonderful, amazing, breath-taking feat.
There are some people who say that these dolphins are prisoners and that they should be set free to swim the oceans of the earth just as other members of their species. While this in but one opinion, there are many other aspects to take into consideration before deciding the fate of these dolphins. Some of these dolphins were injured and on the verge of death when they were found, brought to the dolphin centers, nursed back to health, and bonded with their caretakers. Others were born in captivity to mothers who are cheered and loved in various shows around the world. Still others are too old, too weak, too small, or too injured to survive in the wild any longer. It is these dolphins that are taken in and "kept in captivity."
The copyright of the article Kids Want To Know - Dolpins in Captivity in Dolphins is owned by Carma Haley Shoemaker. Permission to republish Kids Want To Know - Dolpins in Captivity in print or online must be granted by the author in writing.

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