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Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Discovery Cove Dolphin Dies in Accident

I don't know how I feel about Sea World and it's daughter site Discovery Cove. At best, I'm ambivalent about the need for man to manipulate nature in a way that permits entertaining human-animal interactions. Watching dolphins and killer whales perform for an audience is not exactly the best our living planet has to offer. On the other hand, advocates for these sites claim the dolphins and orcas appreciate their contact with humans and that the educational outreach is worth the cost of freedom. That's if you can put a price on freedom.

The accident occurred during a session with the public. Two dolphins jumped from the water at roughly the same time and collided. One of the dolphins in the collision died as a result.

At the moment, officials haven't said whether the jump was part of a rehearsed performance. I'm guessing it was.

Having an animal killed during the execution of a rehearsed performance is different than having it die as a result of the two animals engaging in random play.



Anonymous said...

My husband and I spent a day at Discovery Cove in March and enjoyed our 30 minute Dolphin interaction immensely. I was very impressed with the care, supervision and education of the employees involved. Everything was geared towards the safety and security of the animals in the park and each human that entered the water was made to watch an instructional video and listen to directions. This is not a free for all environment where you are just turned loose to enjoy the animals, each interaction is very structured and supervised. I've been out in the ocean SCUBA diving and seen Dolphins in the wild come right up to humans and interact much like at Discovery Cove. I think the environment fosters their natural couriosity and need for social contact. I'm very sad that such a freak accident happened and I deeply hope that this doesn't open the flood gates for an attack on Sea World or Discovery Cove. I think these types of interactions provide a fantastic opportunity for each and everyone of us to learn a lot about what we are sharing the planet with and there's no greater opportunity afforded a young child to learn and experience and perhaps grow up to become an advocate for preserving these highly intelligent and facinating creatures. One thing Sea World and Discovery Cove strive for is to impress upon you the importance of co-existing with nature and preserving it for our future as well as theirs.

seabgb said...

Thank you for taking the time to post your comments. I also have been swimming with dolphins and whales in the wild. In my case, I can say the whales were more friendly and curious than the dolphins. We have white sided dolphins here and although they are generally very playful, they seem less interested in getting physically close to humans than the bottlenose. In these parts, white sides have good reason to be wary of humans. Thanks again for the comments. You illuminate the positive aspects of places like Sea World and Discovery Cove with reason and logic.