Are Blood Dolphins Worth the Fight?

intelligent-dolphinHow many times have you brought your beaming children to a water show? Have you watched the movie Flipper decades ago? How did it affect your perception on friendly, intelligent dolphins? Truly, dolphins are an amazing creature.  As what Ric and Lincoln O’Barry put it, ‘dolphins have saved human lives since time immemorial and that makes them special.’ ‘That is also communication.’ the father quipped. The O’Barry’s are determined to save these dolphins in any way they can. For the last few years, their efforts have proven helpful, but not all the time. For one, they have convinced three chiefs in Solomon Islands, where the biggest dolphin massacre happens each year, to stop dolphin slaughter in exchange for providing funds to each family in the area to get involved in sustainable projects. Unfortunately, some dolphin killers, specifically in Taiji, Japan, are too unbending to stop their will to kill dolphins, given that it’s a multi-billion dollar industry being spearheaded by resolute organizations like Yakuza. In fact, two of his colleagues have been killed because of their fight to save blood dolphins. Unfortunate as it may seem, the O’Barry’s continue their fight for these reasons:

They make everyone smile and relax – Despite the fact that dolphins aren’t supposed to be placed in aquariums and trained to do tricks for an audience, people flock to these aqua shows because dolphins are one-in-a-million kind of animal. Even when they’re in their natural habitat, they never fail to make people happy as they jump for several feet on air, bounce on water, and whirl on air, even with budding little ones peeping on the surface of the water time after time. It seems like they are destined to make human feel at ease and to communicate with us. When they perform in shows, they usually flip on air, play with ball, swim above water on their tail, and many more. They are always a delight to watch. Thankfully, most major aqua shows in the world, like that found in Hongkong, are taking extra care of their dolphins. Furthermore, it has been noted that activities like swimming with the dolphins could be therapeutic to those who look for stress-free activities. There are also places that offer Swim with the Dolphins activity. Clients need to pay a decent fee to pass and use life jackets. They are then allowed to submerge themselves into clear waters, interacting and feeding with the dolphins in the area. The purpose of such activity is to make us understand the purpose of dolphins in our lives and to raise awareness to the frightening dolphin killing activities done in other countries like Japan.

They have been helping militaries for years – If you think dogs are the only animals that are employable by militaries; you are wrong. In the 1960’s, American and Russian militaries spent millions to decipher and train underwater creatures for future employment to help water-based militaries spot underwater torpedoes and probable underwater enemy divers. They came up with the U.S. Navy Marine Mammal Program to train dolphins and sea lions for the job during the First and Second Gulf Wars. The sea lions’ superb eyesight and the dolphins’ echolocation capability can distinguish a natural and man-made object even from a distance are superpowers that help militaries detect underwater enemy swimmers and underwater mines. It had been noted that during that time, dolphins had saved more lives in open water. The mammals were trained and supervised by five teams; one team for swimmer detections, three teams in mine location, and the other team is in-charge of object recoveries. They were rewarded for fishes after making a good performance and were trained to return to their handlers once devices and enemies have been detected underwater.

They save more humans in open than life savers do – Here are some of the top stories of real people whose lives have been saved by dolphins: A 14 year old lad fell off from his father’s boat and he was on the brink of drowning when Filippo, a popular dolphin in Manfredonia, came to his rescue. The dolphin pushed the lad nearer enough for his father to grab him. It was later noted that Filippo got lost of his visiting pod in the area, and had since become a lifesaver in the area whenever drowning incidents occur.

Another story happened in August when Todd Endris, an entrepreneur, surfed with his friends. He encountered an attack with a 15ft shark, who actually pulled a skin from his back and even tried a third attempt at his legs. While he was kicking the shark in the snout and deliberately swimming for his life, a pod of dolphins suddenly blocked the shark. Fortunately, Todd got back to the shore and got immediate aid. A similar incident also happened on the North Island in New Zealand when Howes and his daughter went swimming and suddenly a pod of dolphins drew them both closer to each other. He tried to drift away from the group, but bigger dolphins blocked him, until they realized that a 10ft white shark was heading for him and his daughter. It lasted for about 40 minutes until the shark lost interest and he and his daughter were able to get back to shore safely. Researchers note that dolphins swim in pods to protect their youngsters from shark attacks, and that also prodded them to protect humans from shark attacks, too.

Now, tell me, are blood dolphins not worthy of the O’ Barry’s mission? Are they not worth the fight?