Dolphin Interactions

By Patti Gutshall

Dolphin Interaction Program at SeaWorld San Diego is an incredible program.  This is not swim with the Dolphins, but an interaction program up close learning event.   Petting hugging and gliding along side them.  

You are given a wetsuit and booties, as you must wear what they are use to, you can not bring your own.  You walk into the Dolphin Cove and are never aloud to swim across.  We were instructed that if we were told to stand against the wall to do so immediately with your legs together. If they see a hole  they will want to swim thru it.  You are a toy to them and if you give them a space in which to swim thru they will.  You will have a pony ride never to be forgotten.  

We fed them octopus and fish.  They have very sharp teeth, but they don’t chew, as they swallow the fish whole.  We were able to touch and feel their skin, stomach and back.  You do not ride them but, glide along side of them holding in front of their dorsal  fin and pectoral fin.  My favorite part was looking into the eye, so close.  

Dolphins are very social and must never be kept alone.  SeaWorld is a Rescue, Rehabilitate and Release Program.  The dolphins that remain there would not be able to survive in the wild.  All dolphins are protected under the Marine Manual Protection Act, set up to study, protect and conserve these fascinating species.


Written by SBRocks

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  1. ” SeaWorld is a Rescue, Rehabilitate and Release Program. The dolphins that remain there would not be able to survive in the wild. All dolphins are protected under the Marine Manual Protection Act, set up to study, protect and conserve these fascinating species.”
    Guess you didn’t read that part.

  2. I don’t always support PETA, but I do here. I guess it’s nice people have fun with the dolphins. But these are animals almost as intelligent as we are, and we confine them physically and mentally to this sad, caged existence.

  3. Probably true that the dolphins that remain there would never be able to survive in the wild. That’s because they were stolen from the wild and have lost family and groups. and become habituated to life in a swimming pool. This is a 3 Rs program but where is the Release part? It would be as though the SB Wildlife Care Network kept all the rescued birds in cages ever afterwards. Indeed, probably fun for the humans, but what must these very intelligent creatures communicate with each other once the last visitor has gone and lights dim at their swimming pool/cage?

  4. There’s no date on the PETA article.
    The video says SeaWorld was forced to end Orca breeding program in 2016.
    The documentary Blackfish turned public opinion, after years of effort behind the scenes as is always true of any movement.
    I will read much more source material than a PETA article.
    And I am wholly against cetaceans being captive.
    Yes, it’s an important issue. My favorite contribution was seeing Crosby and Nash at the Bowl after the release of Wind on the Water album with Critical Mass/To the Last Whale. Released Sept. 1975. I can’t listen to it; I’m teary just writing about it.
    Guess what other songs were on that album?
    Field Worker.
    Take the Money and Run is applicable too,regardless of whom it was written about.
    Same old problems. No solutions. The human species is the problem.

  5. Have you seen the tiny enclosures these highly intelligent animals are confined to? I don’t agree that humans are so all-knowing that we get to make these decisions as if we know what is “better” for them. If Sea World was truly interested in giving these animals the best life possible, they would build massively larger enclosures with plenty of available food that does NOT require daily performances…and then see if the dolphins are at all interested in this kind of (profitable) interaction. Right now, it is just a sick, uncontrolled experiment that makes it impossible to draw conclusions about what is best.

  6. A good friend is a Marine Biologist and I asked their opinion on these things. They said it’s not a simple cut and dry issue. Sea World as an organization is the leading research and support group for marine biology. They said it’s almost like sacrificing few for the many. A few might be held captive but their research and ocean conservancy saves hundreds of thousands. Food for thought.

  7. Two things can be true at once, but yes it is complicated. SeaWorld funds animal rescue and rehab groups that re-release all kinds of sea animals back into the wild. They’ve donated billions to conservation groups. All that money is made possible by people interacting with sea animals and watching them. Its similar to zoos and it doesn’t make it right, but a lot more animals would be dying out there due to how humans have eviscerated their environments. And there aren’t many groups who care and do something about it. I can feel ok paying to float in a pool next to a dolphin and pose for kiss pictures knowing there are thousands of pods of dolphins living out there due to my money.

  8. No no, not whether they would survive, that isn’t the question. Think about what you are arguing for – why do we need to force these animals to perform for us for no reason except our own entertainment? I believe what the veterinarians say about them not being able to survive in the wild, but why should dolphins have to pay for their “rescue” by becoming glorified circus animals living in cages

  9. 3:13 not sure you understand what I’m “arguing for.” Some rescued animals suffer debilitating diseases or injuries and are unable to hunt for/feed themselves. You even say “I believe what the veterinarians say about them not being able to survive in the wild.” So, what would you do with them? Release them to certain slow and painful death? Lock them up away from the public for the rest of their lives? Why is it so terrible to give them what is clearly a happy life in captivity? Dolphins in particular are social creatures and enjoy (for the most part) human interaction. You say they shouldn’t “pay for their ‘recuse,'” but what’s the alternative?
    You and CMKR and others keep downvoting and complaining I’m bad for being OK with some cases of captivity like this, yet you don’t in any way explain the alternative. Solitary confinement so as to not be “forced to entertain?” Provide some helpful solutions.

  10. This is awesome! Must have been amazing to be so close to such intelligent animals. I really don’t see how this is “cruelty,” though. These dolphins are incapable of life in the wild. So, do we just put them down? No, let them live their lives being fed and played with. I’m sure they’d prefer that to death. No?

  11. What’s up with the downvotes for my calling this out as animal cruelty, which is a widely supported perspective, and has been for a long time, among respected scientists in relevant fields, and universally so among animal rights organizations? Has no one heard of the efforts to boycott and shut these facilities down on the grounds that holding Cetaceans in captivity under these or any conditions constitutes cruelty? Or are the downvoters simply pro-animal cruelty?

  12. CMKR – would you prefer these dolphins be released to the wild where they are not “able to survive?” Keeping wild animals in captivity is not always for pure entertainment value. In some cases, such as this, they are “rescued and rehabilitated,” but not able to be “released” due to a myriad of reasons such as debilitating injury, illness, etc.

  13. SAC, one need not have all the solutions to know something is wrong with parading intelligent animals around a tiny cage for their entire lives. Not having all the solutions does not make an argument invalid, that’s a copout.

  14. 7:24am – I never asked for “all the solutions,” I asked for “a” solution as opposed to just saying “no, it’s bad.” Again, really try here……. what do you suggest they do with those animals who are unable to survive in the wild? Answer the question. Can you? You haven’t been able to so far.
    “Copout” indeed…..

  15. well “a” or “some” – point is, I’ve been asking over and over again for you or CMKR (if not one and the same) to answer the question: What would you do with animals that are destined for starvation or other assured death in the wild?

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