Earlier this month, a video surface of a girl getting bit by a dolphin at Sea World. If you are looking for the video, here it is. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3F823T4LliQ
After watching this video several times there are a few things that should really be brought up. First of all, a program like that where guests are allowed to feed large marine mammals with teeth is a set up for disaster. Yes, many zoos and aquariums offer feed the animal programs. Adventure Aquarium for example allows guests to feed stingrays in their ray pool. These are not monster rays. They are smaller species or younger animals that even if they did bite a person, the damage would be minimal, resulting in at most a bruise. Of course, human error can lead to bites as is evident in this video.
One of the rules for this encounter is do not lift the paper plates. Sure enough the girl lifted the paper plate and the dolphin did what it was TRAINED to do. It wasn't the fault of the dolphin in the least bit. Sure you can place a portion of the blame on Sea World for not having tighter regulations and allowing the same program that got 2 people bit a few years back to continue. You can also put part of the blame on the girl. At 8 years old though, how much better can one expect her to know. Really, you could put blame on the parents as well for not assisting the staff of Sea World in watching their daughter and making sure she followed the rules.
In the end though, 3 people getting bit by dolphins at Sea World should really be enough to see an end to or a total reconstruction of that program. Some people want to see this dolphin put down. How in the world can anyone justify that? The dolphin did exactly what it was trained to do. Nobody should want to see this dolphin killed for doing what it was supposed to do. Sea World should really take this incident as an opportunity to educate people on dolphins. I say that because the father of the girl who got bit basically said he had no idea dolphins were capable of biting. Really? Yes. This is where Sea World needs to start being better educators. If an establishment with animals is going to exist it really should exist for one reason, education. Sea World is famous for it's shows. Other facilities are famous for being great education locations.
In the end though, this "vicious" dolphin is totally innocent. The fault of this "attack" lies in the hands of Sea World, the parents of the girl, and the girl herself. Any questions? Watch the video closely and all will really become clear.
If an animal, like a dolphin, is going to be in captivity it should be an ambassador of it's species not a toy for human amusement. That though is a blog for another time... Perhaps next time...