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Photography of captive dolphins

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Apologies if this topic has been discussed previously - I thought it was worthy of bringing up in light of the recent Dive Photo Guide article on the "Selkie Connection Series".

 

I am disappointed with DPG's recent promotion of an exhibition depicting models swimming with captive dolphins.

 

Dolphins do not belong in captivity. They are very intelligent, highly social animals that belong in their natural environments. Numerous scientific studies have shown that keeping these animals in captivity has severe consequences for their physical and mental health. The capture and trade of wild dolphins for aquaria is a disgusting and cruel industry that tragically is growing. Romanticised and anthropocentric photography exhibitions such as these, which may claim to promote 'connectedness' between humans and cetaceans (or other captive wildlife), are ultimately fuelling this aquarium trade.

 

I wonder if there is adequate awareness of such issues among our uw-photo community?

 

Cheers,

 

SOS

Edited by SaveOurSeas

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Here's the link to the article:

 

http://tinyurl.com/7d3alcg

 

Dolphinariums (and other captive animals) are here to stay. It's a global business and there's no denying of the positive impact of PR for ocean conservation (re: Dolphin safe Tuna etc) by Flipper and Free Willy type movies. It's too popular not to continue.

Sure for some, such pictures are contrived anthropomorphic gibberish. However, somewhere along the line, animals became domesticated and now some even live lives better than many human beings. It's part of the anthropogenic nature on this planet. I'm pretty sure the people who take photos with captive animals know what's going on. :drink:

FTR, I abhor captive animal interaction.My own experience with wild dolphins have mainly been like this: they swim up, defecate and take off. ;)

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I don't like the idea of keeping cetaceans in captivity. We don't have it in the UK, so it always seems particularly strange. I've never been to see captive dolphins. That said, I do see that there can be positives, like any zoo situation, as Drew points out.

 

Regarding the photos, these are obviously captive, but at least the photographer is honest about it (and it is pretty obvious in most of the shots).

 

We see lots of images images that are of captive cetaceans (Eilat, White Sea, and more) where no mention is made of them being captive.

 

Alex

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Alex, I tried not to mention the captive Belugas YET AGAIN! :drink:

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Here's the link to the article:

 

http://tinyurl.com/7d3alcg It's a global business and there's no denying of the positive impact of PR for ocean conservation (re: Dolphin safe Tuna etc) by Flipper and Free Willy type movies.

 

Drew have to completely disagree, I am really not convinced by that statement. Captive cetaceans arent a huge presence in much of Europe, which I would argue, doesn t impact the conservation movement there. (A stat I just pulled of bornfree.org suggests about 70% of all captive dolphins are in the North America and the Caribbean). I honestly think that most conservation minded people avoid these facilities and wildlife documentaries and photos are a far more important method of raising awareness. In fact I could probably go a stage further and come up with a sweeping statement...ready?? In my experience, most people that frequent resorts with captive dolphins, dolphiariums etc do not prioritize animal welfare, but rather maximizing their own personal animal interaction.

 

 

Moving on rapidly from that inflammatory remark... to me dolphin safe tuna is a bit of a misnomer as it targets a fishing method, using dolphin pods to locate yellowfin tuna and then setting the purse seine net over them. Whilst this method results in dolphins enclosed many fishermen choose to use a ''back down'' procedure, which involves pausing the final haul in to allow dolphins to escape. This takes an additional 30 min or so but was seen as beneficial as the time to free entangled dolphins from nets often exceeds this.

 

Not targeting these multi-species pods does not ensure dolphin and other marine wildlife are not caught. That is really a function of the ethics of the individual fishermen and companies, but obviously that is much harder to regulate for. To me dolpin safe tuna has an element of style over substance to it by over simplfying a complex scenario.

 

 

Right thats probably enough from me today :drink:

Edited by ErolE

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Drew have to completely disagree, I am really not convinced by that statement. Captive cetaceans arent a huge presence in much of Europe, which I would argue, doesn t impact the conservation movement there. (A stat I just pulled of bornfree.org suggests about 70% of all captive dolphins are in the North America and the Caribbean). I honestly think that most conservation minded people avoid these facilities and wildlife documentaries and photos are a far more important method of raising awareness. In fact I could probably go a stage further and come up with a sweeping statement...ready?? In my experience, most people that frequent resorts with captive dolphins, dolphiariums etc do not prioritize animal welfare, but rather maximizing their own personal animal interaction.

 

I agree, for me people that get entertained looking captive dolphins only sees them as toys, that is not a good practise for changing the mentality about environmental conservation.

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(then, be aware that SOME dolphins are kept captive BECAUSE they cannot be released (i.e. old army dolphin) and that a dolphin that was too long in captivity would die in the ocean if released. Things are not always that simple :drink: )

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I totally disagree with the captivity of any species more intelligent than ourselves... Release the krill now!!! However if a 1000 school kids, who will never get the chance to see 'wild' dolphins, visited a captive dolphin and were inspired by what they saw to put pen to paper and vote against the cruelty around the world of other 'wild' dolphins etc would this not be a good thing? Okay it would be a lot better to take the kids to see wild ones however this is not always a possibility... I fell in love with wildlife through Attenborough, my parents and visiting Zoo's and Safari parks when I was a wee lad as my parents couldn't afford a Kenyan safari or a trip to the Bahamas ...

 

I suppose it's like making the most of a bad thing ?

 

Dean

Edited by DeanB

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Drew have to completely disagree, I am really not convinced by that statement. Captive cetaceans arent a huge presence in much of Europe, which I would argue, doesn t impact the conservation movement there. (A stat I just pulled of bornfree.org suggests about 70% of all captive dolphins are in the North America and the Caribbean). I honestly think that most conservation minded people avoid these facilities and wildlife documentaries and photos are a far more important method of raising awareness.

 

Erol, while a major market for dolphins is in the US, there are quite a few dolphinariums within the EU even. It's a worldwide business and growing because of affluence. Dolphins come from the Pacific and Atlantic, many of them bottlenose because they are more trainable.

 

As for the dolphin safe tuna movement, many more people were motivated to boycott specific tuna sources unless it was considered "dolphin safe" in the 80s and 90s. Those dolphins weren't at risk of extinction but it was played up because of the public adoration brought about by Flipper and the other cetacean entertainment venues like Seaworld which are still very prevalent. I'm not referring to the methodology of making tuna "dolphin safe."

 

I think there must be declarations of shots with captive animals so people know what they are seeing and can decide whether to support it. I don't know if anyone remembers the skinny dipping Natalia and the Beluga shots, which were shot @ the White Sea enclosures but made to sound like the Belugas were wild. NO ONE mentions there are nets there, because that would diminish the shots marketability.

 

As Autopsea says, there are cetaceans which cannot be released into wild anymore. The Dolphin Tale star would be dead without the prosthetic tail and the required maintenance. Keiko the Orca (on which all those Free Willy movies was based on) died because it didn't want to go back to open sea or communicate with wild Orca. There are plenty of other cases of such nature.

 

Another point is that there are dolphins now being bred in captivity for the purpose of dolphinariums. Unfortunately, the growth of dolphinariums now outstrip the supply so many of them are still wild caught. I'm not disagreeing with the idea of banning cetaceanariums. However, most of the dolphin species captured aren't endangered (belugas I believe are) and due to the high demand of such venues as tourist traps, I don't see this trend disappearing anytime soon, unfortunately.

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Erol, while a major market for dolphins is in the US, there are quite a few dolphinariums within the EU even. It's a worldwide business and growing because of affluence. Dolphins come from the Pacific and Atlantic, many of them bottlenose because they are more trainable.

 

Absolutely, it s not a matter of apportioning blame, only based on your statement you should be able to see increased ''PR'' where dolpinariums are more common. I am not sure that this is the case. Vectors influencing attitudes to animal welfare are more based on education, prosperity, underlying cultural bias and probably age, as a function of the general heightening of environmental awareness.

 

Whilst I appreciate that you are not defending the use of wild caught dolphins, I really don t see that these sorts of establishments have any positive impact.

 

But then if everyone agreed life would certainly be boring :drink:

Edited by ErolE

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As someone who spends as much free time as possible watching whales in the wild, I have to say that I'm 100% against keeping whales (of any species) in captivity. They're far to intelligent to be used as an entertainment object. Personally, I will never go to any place (Seaworld, etc) that keeps whales in captivity for the sole purpose of profit. It's just wrong on many levels.

 

If you're interested in seeing my photos of whales you can check out my site at www.whalesonfilm.com. :drink:

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www.whalesonfilm.com[/url]. ;)

 

Yeah I agree!!! ... And you can buy my DVD lair of the water wolf on my website: www.waterwolf-productions.co.uk :drink:

 

Dean

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