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Dolphin Awareness Month

Peter is an independent international zoo consultant, critic and writer with over 50 years work within zoos.

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Dolphin Awareness month

If its March then it is Dolphin Awareness month. Here we can take time to celebrate the 43+ species of Dolphins and make people aware of the threats these animals face in the wild, from pollution, bycatch fishing, deliberate hunting and exploitation. Dolphins are a popular animal because many people will have seen them in captivity.

The Dolphin family is Cetacea and includes not just those animals with the English name 'Dolphin' but others such as Porpoises, Pilot Whales, Killer Whales and others.

When I Became Dolphin Aware

It was 1955 and I was seven years old. I was with my parents on a beach in Kuwait. A bus turned up and parked on the desert road some 100 yards away. Around 20 Lebanese contractors turned up and came down to the sea to swim. They brought a ball with them to play. Within minutes a pod of Dolphins arrived and began to play with the contractors and the ball. To my seven year old self this was a magical experience and one I have never forgotten all these years later. Inside of ten minutes the Dolphins left to do Dolphin things somewhere else.

This is when I became Dolphin Aware.

Over the following years I saw Dolphins out at sea many times during fishing trips in the Arabian Gulf. I recall clearly one under the prow of our boat experiencing and likely enjoying the pull of the water.

Later when I went into zoos, I swam and played with them many times. Perhaps not my favorite species but vey close to it.

I have no problem with dolphins in captivity as long as they are properly cared for and maintained. Therein rests a problem because of my work and interest in zoos I have visited many dolphin facilities and many times came away disgusted. I can't accept Dolphins being kept to drag people around murky pools for photographic opportunities with zero educational value. Dolphins....and all animals deserve better than that.

Under Threat

Dolphins the World over are under threat. It is estimated that in the region of some 300,000 die each year as a result of bycatch. They are affected by pollution and noise pollution. Some are deliberately hunted for their meat or by irresponsible zoos and aquaria.

In the oceans there is usually some room to maneuver and get away so it is the River Dolphins which are most at risk. Rivers are more easily dangerously polluted and there is the added risk of dam building.

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The last remaining Irrawaddy dolphin in the Chheuteal Pool of Stung Treng province was found dead on February 15 2022

The last remaining Irrawaddy dolphin in the Chheuteal Pool of Stung Treng province was found dead on February 15 2022

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