If you are a dolphin lover, you may have heard about or even seen “Blackfish” — a gripping documentary discussing Taiji, Japan’s centuries old dolphin-drive hunts. The film also delves into the larger issue of the treatment that some marine mammals (dolphins, whales, and porpoises) receive whilst in captivity. Specifically, “Blackfish” put a spotlight on SeaWorld’s purported inhumane treatment of killer whales in its care.
As a dolphinarium, we at Bahamas Dolphin Encounters feel compelled to weigh in on this very important issue. As the saying goes, it only takes a few bad apples to ruin the bunch. Sadly, it is true that not all dolphinariums, aquariums, or marine amusement parks are of the caliber of Dolphin Encounters. Our facilities are award-winning and have been praised as a model for compassionate and engaging care of dolphins.
All Positive, All the Time
Our trainers truly love their jobs and their dolphin charges and use only positive reinforcement to train them. Dolphins are highly intelligent creatures with the capability to bond with their trainers. They love the challenge of learning new tricks and, in turn, pleasing their trainers. They thrive on this interaction and the positive feedback that they regularly receive. Our training approach is more of a partnership of equals as opposed to a master-servant relationship. Dolphins do not respond to punishments or withholding of food or affection, and our trainers would never treat these special creatures in that way.
A Sanctuary for Dolphins
Unlike many of the dolphins featured in the film “Blackfin,” the dolphins that you’ll be interacting when you visit us for a Bahamas dolphin swim are not creatures that have been captured from the open sea. On the contrary, our dolphins either have been rescued and are not able to be released back into the wild for any number of reasons or they were born in captivity and would not know be able to survive in the open sea. Our dolphins’ close interaction with their trainers is essentially what keep them healthy. Dolphins born in captivity don’t possess the familial network of a dolphin pod that open sea dolphins do. Their human trainers become like their family.
Pristine Facilities Mimic Life in the Wild
When you visit us for a Bahamas dolphin swim, you’ll see right away that we have made every effort to create a nurturing and intellectually stimulating habitat for our dolphin charges. Our dolphins have no shortage of opportunities to interact with our trainers and with one another. This socialization is critical to their physical and emotional health. Our dolphins also have plenty of open water available for them to swim, play, jump, and carry out all of the physical activities that they’re innately wired for. We take pride in providing an enriching, engaging, and comfortable quality of life for the dolphins in our charge.
With all of this being said, we think it’s important to address this issue with our “protesters”. We understand that the infamous documentary that came out has given the good guys, like ourselves, a bad wrap, but we stand by the film makers decision to make the movie, and commend them for their efforts in exposing horrible treatment against humanity (and we say humanity because we view our dolphins as humanoids who display profound and deep emotions).
We applaud the newly awaked protesters out there for fighting for what is right, but we do ask that in the future to do some research before you accuse the facility of harmful doings. We love our dolphins incredibly much, and want to give them a safe place to heal.
We ask that if you feel that your efforts are not making a difference, than please do something constructive instead to leave our planet in better shape than it was before we go here. More than ever, we need help with picking up litter and trash off of our beaches. Our beaches are becoming more and more unrecognizable every year, and this is hurting our marine life and ecosystem, and we feel that this is more urgent than ever.
We ask, if you care about the dolphins, sea turtles, fish, or sharks, please, take an hour of your entire month and spend it at the closest beach, picking up trash and putting it where it belongs.