Some new luxury hotels are capturing dolphins and placing them in concrete pools under the pretense of “scientific study.” Having 100 people a day swim with these captive dolphins is a study of their response to stress. The best environment for the study of dolphins, however, is in the open ocean, where the dolphins can swim away if they like. As a bonus, they don’t need to be fed dead fish and don’t need to be medicated for the stress that captivity creates. Dolphins are sensitive, social beings that are interdependent and interactive with others within their group, which can number in the hundreds.
To hold dolphins captive under any condition is wrong. To keep dolphins in a hotel lagoon is immoral. Last summer I spent an amazing week with the Wild Dolphin Project, under the direction of researcher Denise Herzing. She has been researching the same family of wild, free dolphins for four years. If one is interested, one can arrange to join Herzing for a week aboard the Wild Dolphins Project research vessel. The project can be contacted at P.O. Box 12141, Lake Park, Fla. 33403-0141.