Sea World - Gold Coast, Queensland, Australia
I struggle with keeping animals in captivity and yesterday I was nagged by guilt (and tears) as I watched the amazing feats of the Sea World dolphins on the Gold Coast. Pacific bottle nose dolphins belong in the ocean where they can fish around the rocky points, catch waves across the bays and terrorise surfers and entertain kids of all ages.
Aboriginal family groups along the east coast of Australia had the right idea when it came to these special creatures. Long before we whiteys came and stole their land and lifestyles, Aboriginal men trained wild dolphins to herd the off-shore schools of fish into shallow water where they could quickly catch them with their spears and nets. In return they would feed them and farewell them with their freedom intact.
Interestingly, the Aboriginal children believed that they were safe from sharks and other predators in the ocean when the dolphins were in the vicinity of their ocean play.
You could see the love the dolphin trainers at Sea World shared with these inspirational, folkloric creatures as they worked with them and they responded accordingly.
But this amazing display of the bond that can be formed between man and wild animals not changed my need to keep 'Flipper' free.
Opening credits from 'Flipper' TV show 1964