SeaWorld Orlando has been ordered by the federal government to pay a fine of $38,500 for a "repeat violation" of an Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) order regarding safety of the staff who are in close contact with the nonhuman animals.
According to OSHA, SeaWorld has been ignoring a federal court order and continues to operate a workplace that can "cause death or serious physical harm to employees."
What to say about the hapless, happy couple who flew from South Carolina to Hawaii in hopes of having a "dolphin-assisted birth"? It takes the scam known as dolphin-assisted therapy (DAT) to a whole new level.
Heather Barringer, who’s due to give birth in July, and her husband, Adam, say they’ve been led to this after experiencing "signs" all through her pregnancy.
This young orca is missing her dorsal fin and her right-side pectoral fin. That means she can't navigate well, and can't catch food on her own.
You might imagine that the other killer whales in her family pod would have had to abandon her and do what's best for the pod overall. But it seems that what's good for the pod overall involves looking after the youngster, even if this slows them all down a bit.
Good news, for a change! The Government of India has issued a nationwide ban on keeping dolphins in captivity.
The ban had been under consideration for several months, during which time a coalition of animal protection organizations in India worked with experts around the world to provide the evidence as to why dolphins should not be kept in captivity.
A new study by four scientists is arguing for more "humane" ways of killing the dolphins at the annual Taiji massacre in Japan. (That's the massacre that was portrayed in the Oscar-winning movie The Cove.) What they are saying could set back the entire movement to bring an end to this horror. Here's why.
Superpod of dolphins by whale-watcher Antonio Ramirez
This "superpod" of dolphins had thousands of common dolphins spread out over an area 7 miles long by 5 miles wide. That's 35 square miles of dolphins!
They were spotted off the coast of San Diego by people on a whale-watching boat. The captain of the boat, Joe Dutra of Hornblower Cruises said he'd never seen anything like it. The boat followed the dolphins for about an hour, and Capt. Dutra said there may have been 100,000 of them.
Early today, deep in Antarctic waters, a huge Japanese whaling ship rammed two Sea Shepherd boats that were attempting to block its access to a refueling vessel.
Sea Shepherders say the factory ship Nisshin Maru repeatedly rammed the Steve Irwin and then the Bob Barker, actually pushing the Bob Barker into a Korean refueling boat. Sea Shepherd says the whalers also threw concussion grenades at their crew.
In this video, we see a group of dolphins helping a confused seal pup find her way through the strong currents buffeting her around a rocky shore and back out to the ocean.
Last week, we saw a tangled dolphin ask human divers to free her, as well as whales adopting an orphan dolphin, and dolphins nursing a sick family member. How many more such things happen on any given day? Hundreds? Thousands?
And what does this tell us about the nature of dolphins?
The week in dolphins and whales: Dolphins try to save one of their own ... Sperm whales support one who is not their own ... Dolphin asks humans for help ... Meanwhile, at the Taiji massacre ... Marineland takes a dive ... Blackfish movie snapped up by Magnolia Pictures and CNN ... Saving Marcos.
You've probably seen or heard about the dolphin who approached some divers off the coast of Kona, Hawaii, all tangled up in a fishing line and with a hook through her fin, clearly asking for help as she circled around them.
Then she approached one of the divers, Keller Laros, and positioned herself in a way that would help him remove the fishing line. She waited patiently while Laros cut the line, rolling over when necessary.
It's hard to decide who is more contemptible: the people paying to have a captive dolphin paint a picture for them at the Mirage Hotel, or the people pocketing the money.
Or maybe Option 3: the reporter, Jeannie Garcia at vegas.com, who seems to think it's all just fine.
During this hands-on experience, you’ll collaborate with dolphins and make an artistic masterpiece. This interactive program allows you to connect with these lovable creatures. In addition, this creates an enriching environment for them.
According to the "curator of dolphin care" (amazingly, dolphins have managed quite well for millions of years in the ocean without needing to be "cared for" in tanks in hotels by curators), painting pictures "creates another avenue to mentally challenge and engage our dolphins with their trainers while providing guests with an unforgettable experience."
The way captive animals are trained to do things like painting pictures is by feeding them dead fish when they do what you want them to do. And what "mentally challenges and engages them" is figuring out how to get you to give them the fish. And if that involves holding some object in their mouth and scraping it over a piece of paper, then that's what they'll do.
According to the article, you can get a painting for $199. For $50, you can also do "Yoga among the Dolphins" at an underwater viewing area at Siegfried & Roy's Secret Garden and Dolphin Habitat. (Yes, that would be the same Roy who was seriously injured by "his" tiger 10 years ago. The tiger, Montecore, is still living in a cage at The Mirage.)
In this video, taken two months ago at SeaWorld San Antonio, Shamu, the generic name for orcas at SeaWorld shows, decides not to perform one evening at "Shamu's Rockin' Creep Show".
When the orca decides to beach herself at the side of the pool and not cooperate any longer, you hear the audience complaining and one of the creeps in the "Creep Show" audience shouting at her to "Get back in the water!"
Then one of the supervisors explains to the audience that they're canceling the show for the evening and that "these animals ... think on their own and make decisions on their own."
I guess that would not include the decision not to be held captive at SeaWorld any longer.
Last week, we wrote about the latest "accident" at SeaWorld, where a dolphin bit 8-year-old Jillian at the petting/feeding pool. Jillian really cares about dolphins and said that she wanted to be a dolphin trainer when she grows up. So we asked our friend and colleague Samantha Berg, who had the same dream as Jillian, to write to her about the experience of working as a trainer at SeaWorld. Here's Sam's letter:
The tourists in the dolphin pool were told to stand in a line and splash the two dolphins, who would splash back. But one of the dolphins became aggressive and bit Sabina on her leg. Two others were attacked, too, and one of them ended up in hospital.