Saturday, January 31, 2015

A Year At The Beach: January 2015 Part 3

A Year At The Beach
January 2015

I have lived my life in coastal towns on Long Island, New York and in Florida. The beach was never more that a fifteen minute drive, sometimes shorter, sometimes longer, depending which beach I decided to go to. I grew up and watched “Flipper” and still call to the local dolphins, here flipper, here flipper... to me, Flipper was a Florida animal. My best experiences with dolphins has been in Florida, in the wild.

While staying in a beach-front house on North Captiva Island, I had the absolute pleasure of watching a dolphin family swim every morning as the sun rose and every evening as the sun set. For the week there, every morning I would wake up before every one else, make coffee and sit outside waiting for “my” new friends to swim by and start their day, and mine. I can't tell you what an awesome feeling it was to watch what seemed to be a mom, dad, and baby play and/or swim by. In the evenings it was more of the same heading back in the opposite direction. Sometimes I'd get lucky and then would frolic about right in front of me. One evening Dad scared me when he decided to chase fish towards the shore. He was so fast that I didn't know he could stop or turn as fast. I jumped because I thought he was coming right up on shore!! I was and still am amazed.

Now living on the coast in Florida, I have many great places to hang out with may new “friends” in the wild. Right here, is the Indian River. I have seen so many dolphins swimming and playing here. I've seen that rush towards shore chasing fish again or in the river near the boat ramps. I love watching mom and baby swimming by the bridge. It's my go-to place for relaxing and enjoying dolphins doing what dolphins do best, swimming free.

It's 2015, and we should all know better that captivity is just plain ole wrong. Scientifically we know so much more about other species, but especially mammals. Living here in Florida, it makes me so sad that there are so many captive entertainment venues that speak of educational benefits when in actuality the only thing educational is that they are behaving this way in captivity which is very different than in the wild. It's very disheartening.

Just think about this: Disney World continues to grown and change with the times. Between the 3 main theme parks, look at the types of exhibits, rides, attractions, programs, and shows they have. They are only restricted by their imagination! Although Animal Kingdom has some animals, they are not there to do tricks for you.

The tricks captive animals are made to do are virtually unnatural. As an example: dolphins in the wild do not eat dead fish. They are taught to eat dead fish as a reward for certain behaviors and/or tricks. If they do not eat, they are force fed by tubes to keep them alive until their spirit is broken and begin to respond to tricks and dead fish.

Monterrey Bay Aquarium in California is one recommended aquarium that truly educates the public about ocean conservation without large mammals in captivity.

Now what if? What if the orcas and dolphins were retired to sea pens and 21st Century Imagination Exhibits were put in there place. All you have to do is check out social media and YouTube to see the possibilities.

More to come...

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