Friday, November 12, 2010

Stop the Killing

     For many children, their favorite part of the aquarium is the dolphin show.  For kids, its exciting to sit in the "splash zone" and get waved to by the dolphins as they swim by.  However, to the dolphins, the shows that they are forced to do is their worst nightmare.  Routinely jumping around, swimming, and showing off their tricks may seem to be like a fun activity for the animals, but its really just unhappy work.  In the beginning of the show at the Baltimore Aquarium all of the dolphins are introduced.  Many of them have been rescued and nurtured back to health, then turned into a show dolphin.  It seems as though the aquarium is doing the dolphins a favor by saving them, bringing them back to good health, and giving them a fun activity to do.  But the dolphins should be freed as soon as they have returned to normal health.  To go from living free in the wild, to living in small tanks, forced to do unwanted activities, is not what the dolphins want at all.  As previously stated its incredibly unhealthy for the creatures to be stuck in tanks all day and not given enough room to get proper exercise.
     The dolphins that have been saved deserve to return back to their normal world and home, the ocean.  Living in tanks not only prevents them from getting enough exercise, but can make them very sick.  A few years ago, the Baltimore Aquarium was losing dolphins left and right and nobody could figure out the reasons for their abnormal deaths.  Finally, it was discovered that they water and filter noise was making them sick.  Dolphins are incredibly sensitive to their surroundings and something as small as the filter sound could kill them, as shown in this case.
     Recently I traveled to Florida and had to the chance to visit an aquarium that was dedicated to nurturing animals back to original health and and then sending them back to freedom.  The two animals that stuck with me the most were the sea turtles and of course the dolphins.  When I visited the sea turtle exhibit, there were three sea turtles in a tank the size of a kiddy pool at your local community center.  One turtle was desperately trying to climb over the edge, and escape.  My heart broke for the poor animals and I knew that they belonged in the wild and were incredibly unhappy in the small tank provided.  The next exhibit I went to was the dolphin pool.  It was located outside, and was literally a back yard pool.  It was a good size for two dolphins, but nothing compared to the ocean.  As I hung my head over the railing, I watched the two dolphins float.  I waited for them to start playing but nothing happened.  They both just floated on top of the water, pushing a little ball around with their noses, hardly moving at all.  Occasionally the one would go under water and splash his tail, but nothing like dolphins I see on the beach.
     I left the exhibit both angry and sad.  It was a wonderful the aquarium was doing for the animals, but they all needed more attention, room, and exercise.  I was sad for the animals because I knew that being stuck in tanks was depressing for them and I was angry at the aquarium for not giving the animals the proper living conditions according to their needs.  In the future, I hope to contribute to the freedom of dolphins by spreading my awareness to my fellow classmates, peers, friends and family.  I also hope to help by boycotting dolphin shows, and pretty much anything related to animals being caged or stuck in a tank.  Never again will I go to another dolphin show in my life.  

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