Lolita alone at the Miami Seaquarium

       


 
 
 
The Top Deck Dolphin Show!

In The Center of our
side-show-park
is the 100' diameter round tank where our
Top Deck dolphins are contained.

The Top Deck and "Flipper" shows generate a real stage to highlight the plight of marine mammals in oceans all over the world." ~Raymond Michael Hunt, former Seaquarium trainer told USDA agents under oath.

There is just one thing wrong with this statement: Hunt obviously meant to say "captivity" rather than "oceans." The Top Deck Dolphin Show is the perfect example of what is wrong with captivity.

"As I navigate the crowd of impatient tourists I manage to get a glimpse of the whole arena. Much like the Roman Coliseum the bleachers run all the way around the circular pool. Inside the pool are 5 dolphins swimming in circles, over, and over. Two of these dolphins are mothers in their late 30s. This pool is the only world they have ever known. And it is the only world their one-year-old offspring will know.

There are no trees, no plants, no wildlife whatsoever. Just a stark round concrete 2 story pool with a few tiny windows opening up to the first floor. From the windows the tank appears bleak and sterile like some eerie underwater prison. The dolphins stare at me through the windows. They look so bored. You can see it in their eyes. They know... They know the bay is just a hundred yards away. So close yet so far from freedom.

Rock-a-Billy surf music blares through the stadium as the "educational" show begins. All focus is directed towards a young woman in a Hawaiian shirt and lei who steps out on the platform. She announces herself, introduces her assistant (crouching on a side platform with dead fish ready for the flinging), and then the five performers. The dolphins are suddenly excited. This is obviously the most attention they have received all day.

She introduces the dolphins by name. They each give a big splash and rush to the platform for their herring reward. Patron heads whip back and forth trying to catch a glimpse of the dolphins launching in syncronicity. Echoing cheers rip through the stands. Everyone is smiling. Children stand on their toes pointing this way and that. I think to myself, You people have been duped.

The "trainer" makes a few hand signals and the cetaceans are off performing flips, twists, and belly-flops for the hypnotized crowd. Again the animals rush back to the platform for their reward. (This form of manipulation is called 'conditioned response,' or 'food depravation.' And it's illegal according to the Animal Welfare Act.) In other words the dolphins are controlled by food and are kept hungry until show time.

"A dolphin that isn't hungry is a dolphin that won't perform."
~Former dolphin trainer Russ Rector.

I watch the show and am stunned by the mentality of the crowd. Are they watching the same show I am witnessing: a pathetic display of dominance.

The show lasts about twenty minutes and is completely anticlimactic. The grand finale consists of the five dolphins high-jumping and splashing unsuspecting tourists. The crowd is in an uproar laughing at the unlucky soaked patrons. This show is educational all right. It teaches children domination over others is perfectly acceptable. After the show, the crowd files down the stair and off to the Lolita show. People walk way learning it's okay to dump a dolphin in a tank and exploit it until it dies. That, or they are simply not thinking at all.

I must have been the only person leaving that show feeling sorry for those animals. That's the only life they will ever know, the only home they will ever know. The older ones may remember what it was like swimming free in Biscayne Bay, just 100 yards away. But those days are long gone. The Seaquarium captured most of the dolphins from Biscayne Bay and sold them to parks around the world for $300 a piece back in the 60's." The bay is empty now. ~Tim Gorski, college professor and recent patron of the Seaquarium.

"Sometimes we took them from their lactating mothers because the young females were the easiest to manipulate and domesticate." ~Ric O'Barry former Seaquarium "Flipper" trainer.

The truth of the matter is, whales and dolphins kept in captivity live in cramped, stressful conditions, are more prone to infection, and generally die young. It's true. When dolphins are constantly being exposed to dirty hands, human diseases, and our desire to touch and be near them, they experience very high levels of stress, sickness, and even death. But what's one dolphin more or less? The important thing is that you will be having fun, and we will be making money. <Miami Seaquairum Death Chart>

"If you're not part of the solution,
you're part of the problem."

~Ric O'Barry former Seaquarium "Flipper" trainer

 

©Dolphin Project
Dolphin project
Sea Lion at Miami Seaquarium
 

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