Celebrating World Oceans Day
Saturday June 8 marks World Oceans Day. It’s a time to celebrate the seven seas and their crucial role in our existence. It’s also a day to reflect on the wildlife that call the oceans home.
One animal has long captured the human imagination with their intelligence, friendliness and physical grace in the water. We’re talking about the dolphin. But, unfortunately not all dolphins get to live in the wild where they belong.
Some dolphins are condemned to a life of utter boredom in the confines of a manmade concrete tank or artificial lagoon. Like the 30+ captive dolphins at one of Australia’s last two remaining dolphin venues: Sea World, where they’re bred purely to entertain paying visitors.
The Problem: Dolphins are wildlife not entertainers
So-called “Swimming with the Dolphins” programs allow visitors to pet captive dolphins in shallow pools or interact with them in deeper water by swimming beside them or being towed around by holding onto the dolphin's dorsal fin.
Wild dolphins can swim more than 100km a day – they engage in mating, foraging, fighting and play behavior with their pod members: and they use their echolocation to explore their diverse ocean environment.
In contrast, captive dolphins are forced to swim in endless circles in artificial habitats, interact with unfamiliar dolphins and other species and perform behaviors that are unnatural and in some cases painful. Captive dolphins also face exposure to human infection, bacteria and chemicals and suffer from stress-related illnesses.
The Solution: See dolphins in the wild
Don’t fuel the demand for animal cruelty at Sea World. Here are some of the locations where you can see dolphins in the wild exhibiting their natural behaviours, rather than unnatural circus tricks they’ve been coerced into learning. In the wild, they’re free to come and go as they please; and can engage with humans on their own terms.
- Nelson Bay
- Off the rocks at North Bondi (even Bondi in general, early morning)
- Julian Rocks, Byron Bay
- Noosa (at sunset, they’re nearly always there and, even better, if you go kayaking at sunset, you can kayak with dolphins!)
- Airlie Beach, and throughout the Whitsundays
- Cruises from Cairns
- Rainbow Beach and Hervey Bay (remember: where there are whales, there are dolphins!)
- Adelaide Dolphin Sanctuary
Sea World likes to create the impression that its dolphins have been rescued and rehabilitated. But most of them were bred into a lifetime of captivity to provide entertainment.
We want Sea World’s 30+ dolphins to be the last generation of dolphins held captive for tourism in Australia. Only a ban on captive breeding will help bring this about.
Dolphins can live for over 50 years – which amounts to a life sentence in a small, chlorinated pool.
There's no excuse. It's abuse. To Australians keen to see dolphins our advice is simple, see them in the wild – where they belong.
To learn more: