Is it Wrong to Swim With Dolphins?
Swimming with dolphins can be an incredible and unforgettable experience, but it is essential to remember that they are wild animals and should always be observed from a safe distance rather than being touched directly. So is it wrong to swim with dolphins?
Dolphins in captivity are exposed to visitors day in, day out, which can make them sick. Furthermore, they often don’t receive sufficient food and become bored out of their minds quickly.
It is illegal
Dolphins are beautiful creatures, and many people dream of swimming alongside them. But swimming with dolphins is illegal and harmful for both themselves as well as for other marine life; disrupting their natural behaviors could potentially cause irreparable harm.
Participants of dolphin swimming programs may not realize the severity of the cruelty involved. Not only are dolphins captured from their families and forced into tanks far smaller than their natural habitats; this is particularly traumatic for creatures used to swim long distances in nature.
As previously discussed, captive dolphins must interact with tourists all day, which can tire and aggressive them, potentially leading to dangerous interactions and accidents with both dolphins and swimmers. Thankfully, dolphins are increasingly being protected from cruel tourism activities; Mexico recently passed a law prohibiting marine mammal extraction for extractive use while there remain many tours offering dolphin experiences at tourist spots.
It is a tourist attraction
Many tourist destinations provide visitors with opportunities to interact with dolphins in captivity, often forcing them to live isolated from their families in the wild and subjecting them to long, repetitive work schedules and performance sessions. Furthermore, these dolphins must often feed frequently leading them to be less healthy while simultaneously being forced into daily interactions with tourists which could potentially spread diseases between dolphins and humans.
Furthermore, the water at these facilities is often too polluted for safe swimming with dolphins. Furthermore, those participating in swim-with-the-dolphin programs typically work 12-hour days with music playing over their ears as well as people splashing water or slapping against their tanks – an experience most dolphins cannot stand.
Some dolphins used in SWTD attractions are caught wild through drive fisheries. These fisheries specialize in harvesting toothed whale meat while simultaneously capturing young dolphins to sell to aquariums, marine parks, or swim-with-the-dolphin facilities.
It is a form of harassment
Captive dolphin encounters may not only be unethical but can be detrimental to wild ones as well. When people approach dolphins in their natural habitats, swimmers disrupt rest, socialization and feeding patterns that disrupt restfulness, and socializing and may cause them to leave their mother altogether. Therefore, it is wise to remain at a safe distance and never feed wild dolphins directly.
Hostile behavior such as chasing and following wild dolphins in the water constitutes harassment, which can cause both physical and psychological stress for these marine animals. Furthermore, it is illegal to harass marine mammals in this way when pregnant – it could put their health at risk!
Wild dolphins are social, intelligent mammals that travel in pods. Capturing these beautiful animals in captivity can be traumatizing for each dolphin as well as having devastating repercussions for the whole pod, including early death due to poor conditions and inadequate food supplies.
It is a form of animal abuse
Swimming with dolphins can be an unforgettable experience that connects humans to nature more directly, yet can also be traumatizing for them themselves; their long days without breaks, loud music used for shows and petting pools, as well as potentially eating foreign objects into their mouths, can all contribute to stress.
Dolphins are highly social animals that form strong social bonds within pods of similar individuals. Due to this, captive dolphins experience great distress when forced into captivity; being moved between parks can even result in separation from their mothers.
Some “swim with dolphin” programs advertise themselves as open ocean programs despite housing their dolphins in closed pens until their program begins, then following the boat out onto open water where tourists pay them food in exchange for performances, which may cause stress. Furthermore, water polluted with chlorine can damage the skin and eyes of dolphins as well as damage their overall wellbeing.