Hello, today we visit the dolphins. PETA: “Wild captures still live in both [German] dolphinariums.” Dr. Kerstin Ternes (veterinarian & curator for marine mammals at Duisburg Zoo): In Duisburg dolphinarium there are two wild captures called Ivo and Pepina. Ivo is 38 years old and came in 1999 from Antwerp to Duisburg, when the dolphinarium was closed. In 1994 Pepina came, who was caught in Cuba. Both animals were part of the last wild captures in the beginning of the 1980s and came to Belgium and Germany and joined our group in the 1990s. So all other animals now living here and we transported to facilities in Nuremberg (Dolly & Donna) and Lanzarote (Diego & Darwin) were born here. These wild captures are in human care for more than 30 years and you have to be aware of the fact that many animals in the wild don’t grow so old. PETA: “There are up to five dolphin shows every day and up to 1,200 visitors per show per day in both zoos, although the use of the animals for commercial purposes is prohibited by law.” The number of presentations you can visit in our dolphinarium is available on our webpage. We update the statistic every month and you can see that there are mostly three shows a day. On special days with a lot of visitors (likely during the summer holidays or at the weekend) there also can be four or five presentations. Usually, there are three. The animals are used to this and it’s part of their exercise program of our dolphins. The animals shall move and they need something to think about. Everybody working with pets knows you have to offer them enrichment. The presentations are part of this enrichment program and everybody can see our animals take part in them voluntarily. They get food before and after. So the reinforcement during the show is not a feeding, but just an additional treat and the animals like to join. There are days at which nothing works here. If Ivo wants to have sex with his women, he whizzes after them and they don’t want to join the program. In 2011 we had three calves at the same time. As soon as this kindergarten entered the group there was no presentation possible, because everyone was swimming around wildly and played. The calves stayed together with the mothers and so it’s all depending on the daily mood of the dolphins, what happens here. If you see our presentation frequently, you will see the animals having fun and like to participate. They also try out new things during the show and it’s part of their daily routine. Of course, the presentations are not only exercise for our animals; they should also educate our visitors. The presentation is an important part of what we want to teach the children. The children not only learn something about the bottlenose dolphin but also about its anatomy, biology, occurrence in the wild, the threats in the wild and all this they should take home as important knowledge. Every one of us could talk scientifically about dolphins – this would be no problem. We could talk a lot, but this has to be child-friendly packed. We’ve got children in our audience and parents will know that it can be quite challenging to keep them interested, while there are so many interesting impressions and things to do. But we want to enrich the knowledge of these children, so we have to pack it child-friendly and add entertainment. With this combination, we are able to teach our audience basic scientific information with fun. 04:22 – PETA: “There is a cover-up in both zoos: […] They supposedly have nothing to hide.” Such claims make me smile, because we have nothing to hide and started a webpage in 2014. The project is called the “glass dolphinarium”. On our homepage people get access literally all information concerning the dolphinarium. We update them on a regular basis. So you can read when Ivo had is last coryza or which amount of fish Delphi ate on the 12th of October in 1999. This means you get the information of our daily reports and we didn’t want to give it to single persons, who maybe interpret this data in a wrong way because they simply are not able to interpret them properly. Our aim was to give the public the possibility to do own research. So you look for the facts you want to know: If you want to know how blood values of dolphins look like, if you want to know how we get blood samples, how and why Ivo gets water, you can find everything on our wepage. So there is no cover-up. PETA: “On children’s birthday parties, children in a dinghy are pulled through the dolphin pool. This poses a danger to the children, as dolphins are wild animals and can attack. Also for the dolphins, there is a risk of getting introduced germs or suffocating on swallowed foreign bodies.” If there is kid celebrating her or his birthday, they can be in a dinghy. We do this for decades and nothing happened through all these years. All kids unscathed returned to their parents and no dolphin was harmed. Mostly Ivo, the chief, likes to pull the boat so the others aren’t allowed, but accompany him. That’s it. Some people are talking a lot about it, but basically, it’s a short pull through the pool and then Ivo gives the boat to the caretaker. The kid gets out and learns something about dolphins. After that, the children can transmit the knowledge. So she or he is an ambassador and a representative of all kids in the audience. We are not able to enable every kid the opportunity to touch a dolphin or shake its flipper. So we do this with one kid as a deputy for all others. In order to avoid infections, the kid is not allowed to jump into the water. So the dolphins aren’t contaminated with germs and are not able to harm the kid or something like that. But they wouldn’t harm a kid because they are accustomed to humans. Almost all were born here and far from being aggressive. The kid gets protective clothing and the hands are disinfected before it touches the animals. The kid can touch the animal and feed it and because of this preparation, the germ load is as low as possible. In our point of view, there are no problems and nothing bad can happen – we can exclude foreign objects because the kids are old enough and not use a dummy. In addition to that, they get prepared by a zoo guide, who chooses them and takes care before and after. PETA: “According to the marine biologist [in fact: a neuroscientist who appears as part of the anti dolphinarium industry] Lori Marino from Emory University in Atlanta, not monkeys but dolphins are the most intelligent creatures besides humans. The dolphins’ brain is more folded and has a larger surface than the human brain, and because of their self-awareness, they are particularly affected by their imprisonment and deserve recognition as non-humans with the right to freedom as we humans demand Scientist.” Whether dolphins are smarter or we humans, it’s hard to confirm, I think. How do you define intelligence?
Basing on my daily experiences I can confirm dolphins are willing to learn and enjoy it. They also invent some things like games, but also dogs do it. There is a lot of research concerning the New Caledonian crow and they passed the self-recognition test much better than the dolphins, but nearly nobody thinks about that. I can’t understand, why we lift dolphins on such a pedestal being special intelligent, clever, smart, amazing, worth protecting animals – and all animals aren’t and don’t matter? That’s not how it works: I have no evidence dolphins would be special intelligent. They like to learn and interact with us, but personality rights for dolphins are far-fetched. I’m not a scientist working on this exclusively, unlike maybe some other people, but also scientists argue about this issue. There’s a very good book about it: “How smart are dolphins really?” The author deals with this issue and compares dolphins with chickens and there are many similarities. There are a lot of people, who love to eat chicken and no one claimed personality rights for Chicken McNuggets. Conclusion One question I’d like to ask these animal rights activists: I can’t understand and always think about the question why people are freaking out because of these seven dolphins. We’ve got seven dolphins here. They are lacking nothing, doing great, being healthy and spend their whole life in the dolphinarium. They breed, grow up, getting old and die like unfortunately every being living in nature. I don’t get why animal activists invest so much: making plans to realize release projects, which cost millions of euros for these animals. While in nature every year thousands of marine mammals die. We pollute our ocean more and more with tons of plastics and so on and all these millions animal rights activists collected are needed in nature and would be invested better there than here. Here we’ve got Atlantic bottlenose dolphins, who is not threatened in nature, but no one cares about the Vaquita or other threatened species. We could actively do something good for these species if we would work together. Everyone should think about what is important for our future – and it definitely not to waste time and money for these animals, who are doing great. If you liked the video, it would be awesome, if you’d give it a thumb up and if you have some questions please write them down in the comment section. In order to never miss a video, subscribe our channel. 🙂