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  1. #226

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    Re: See "Blackfish" before going to SeaWorld

    Quote Originally Posted by The First Star View Post
    Lol. Like I've always said, I'm not an activist. Please don't assume I speak for a "movement," because I do not.
    I think I blurred the lines between things you said and my generalized thoughts about anti-captivity activists. I didn't mean to take out those feelings on you specifically, and I shouldn't have made it seem like I thought "you are just like the rest of them." It was my abrupt thoughts when I was shocked that you weren't aware of trained animal shows in zoos and the like.

    Skylala is doing an excellent job of explaining things with far more expertise than I ever could.

  2. #227

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    Re: See "Blackfish" before going to SeaWorld

    I though this thread was supposed to be a critique about the film "Blackfish?" I realize that the subject matter has very emotional supporters on both sides of the debate, but at the end of the day, the film didn't do its job. It provided no evidence. Just the opinions of the ex-trainers, who clearly had their own agendas. I would be disappointed if I was on the anti-Seaworld side of this debate over the film because it could have and should have been done better. At the very least, they could have told us that one of the trainers only worked at Seaworld for a year, and didn't even work with Tilikum and that another one was fired. They didn't stick to the point of the film and that was what happened and could it have been prevented. Instead, it turned itself into a propaganda film. The filmmakers missed out on a huge opportunity to actually teach its audience something. Shame on them for using the tragic death of Dawn to push their own agendas. No, this film did not move me.

    I respect all the feelings on both sides of this debate. It is obviously a very emotional one. I have spent the last 2 days doing my own research and my conclusion is this: there is very little scientific evidence on either side. Just a lot of opinions and feelings. I do not think that any of these animals would be better off if freed; in fact, I think the opposite. I think it would be very detrimental to them. Is it 30 or so of 45 that have actually been born in captivity? That's the only home they have ever known. Releasing them would be cruel. I don't think that the animals are ever forced to perform for food or to perform at all. From my own observations, they are very well taken care of and respected.

  3. #228

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    Re: See "Blackfish" before going to SeaWorld

    Quote Originally Posted by evergreen View Post
    Please cite an example of where I posted "the same old propaganda" or where I distorted anything.
    In your 'coming out' post, you mentioned working at 3 parks. The chronology was, "Porpoise Island", "Ocean World", and finally "Miami Seaquarium". You cited that you worked at this parks in the 1970s.

    Per your Facebook page, you graduated HS in 1970.
    Per a piece in the Seattlepi (link withheld because you wished your name to remain private) you worked at the Seaquarium as a 'Show Assistant' from June 1970 until August 1973.

    This suggests that you were previously employed at the other two parks for an extremely short amount of time, or you were attending high school while under their employ (alternatively, high school age and employed as a summer job).

    Personally, I believe this to be a distortion.

    You're still an active 'Animal Rights Advocate', which could very well indicate that you're posting here with an agenda. Given the circles with which you're associated with through your previous advocacy work (PETA, etc), it would stand to reason that you would speak out against MiceChat, the trainers distancing themselves from Blackfish, and SeaWorld on the basis of solidarity alone.

    If you're going to 'come out', at least have the dignity to have full disclosure.

    /all information is from public sources

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    Re: See "Blackfish" before going to SeaWorld

    Quote Originally Posted by coopercaseycody View Post
    I respect all the feelings on both sides of this debate. It is obviously a very emotional one. I have spent the last 2 days doing my own research and my conclusion is this: there is very little scientific evidence on either side. Just a lot of opinions and feelings. I do not think that any of these animals would be better off if freed; in fact, I think the opposite. I think it would be very detrimental to them. Is it 30 or so of 45 that have actually been born in captivity? That's the only home they have ever known. Releasing them would be cruel. I don't think that the animals are ever forced to perform for food or to perform at all. From my own observations, they are very well taken care of and respected.
    I respect both sides, as well. This has, for the most part, been an enjoyable discussion.

    I agree that releasing them would cause a lot of problems and could be very detrimental. I recall reading somewhere that there are very, very few instances where an animal was captured from the wild, is still alive after all these years, and, critically, the family pod has been identified and tracked so that a reunion could take place. In general, releasing them would raise lots of important questions about how they would feed, how they would breed and rear young, etc. Although I am willing to keep an open mind on sea pens, I'd need to see a detailed plan, and a working model, and I still don't think I'd support it across the board. That's why, as I've said, I simply support ending the breeding program.

    I also agree and believe that Sea World takes care of them the best they can, but it's hard to prevent the teeth-gnashing, stereotypic behaviors, unknown/sudden illnesses, difficulties in getting females to rear their young, etc. that come with captivity. (There is scientific research on that, and it's posted in my previous post, for your reference. Just wondering, and I mean no disrespect, but did you read any of those articles?)

  5. #230

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    Re: See "Blackfish" before going to SeaWorld

    Quote Originally Posted by Skylala View Post
    The First Star;


    You say the shows at a zoo are more OK because there is a variety of animals and each are only out for a small time, so they don't have a large job to do.

    I did say that I preferred the zoo model, in that the animals have smaller roles. But that was certainly not the only reason. I also mentioned the fact that self-aware animals are not used, which is the most important point for me. The rest of my points would be moot if they were using chimpanzees.


    Quote Originally Posted by Skylala View Post
    SeaWorld does employ the same type of situation.
    It's harder to notice because you can see the difference between a dog and sealion. It's harder to see when a dolphin is switched out. In fact sometimes you don't even see them leave because they're underwater and replaced.


    I ask you to watch this video of an orca show on YouTube:
    The Shamu Show One Ocean 2011 HD - YouTube


    Now I chose an Orca Show because I can actually see the whales and know who they are. Too hard to ID dolphins and too many to keep track of.


    Watch it, and take note of just how long those animals are REALLY there for, and watch the behaviors that are asked of them.


    The show is 25 minutes long.
    In that 25 minute show, 4 animals perform.
    Kalia, Ulises, Orkid and Corky.


    At the time this was filmed, there were another 2 whales, Kasatka and her son Nakai. So they weren't in the show at all.


    Kalia is in the show for a total of 10 minutes and 55 seconds, with 3 breaks splitting up her time. Her longest stay in the show was 4minutes and 10seconds at the end.
    She was asked roughly 14 behaviors within that time. (As well as a couple of small ones)


    Ulises was in the Show for a total of 7minutes, which was split in half giving him over a 10 minute break between.
    He was asked about 9 behaviors.


    Orkid was in the show for a total of 10minutes and 15seconds. It was split into 3 different parts, her longest stay in the Show being 4minutes 10 seconds at the end.
    She was asked about 18 behaviors, some of which included just a shake of the head 'yes' or 'no'.


    Corky was in the show for a total of 7minutes and 30seconds, split in half with an almost 10 minute break between.


    I would like to point out a moment in the Show at 13:45, where Kalia is performing. She is asked for about 9 or so behaviors. We know she is getting the behaviors correct because she is signaled with a whistle. The whole time she is not rewarded with fish. She gets claps and rubs and pats.
    Though at 10:30, we see Corky get a huge salmon for doing one very simple behavior.
    The animals will always get their fill of food, and the way they receive it is random.

    Fair enough, but you must admit that 9 to 18 behaviors is still greater than 2 or 3, and represents more time in front of the audience. That is fundamental difference between the San Diego Zoo show and the Sea World show.


    Quote Originally Posted by Skylala View Post
    During off season there is only 1-2 shows a day. So pretending this particular show happened when there was only one show a day, that means Nakai and Kasatka didn't perform at all that day.


    And like you pointed out, during busy seasons there are more shows. But even if there were 5 shows during the day, and assuming the shows continued using the same 4 animals, That's still only having them out working for less then 1 hour if we assume the longest time they are out is 10 minutes.


    However of course I have also seen shows where just a couple of animals do the entire show.
    Even assuming this happened; one animal performed the entire 25minute show and performed all 5 shows that day... It's still only 2 hours. And that really would not happen and if it did, wouldn't happen often.

    That is still much greater than a few minutes per day. And what are they doing between shows? Are they still in holding pens, preparing for the next show? What is their "free time" like between shows when they're doing 5 shows a day? Where are they held? Are they being engaged in other enrichment activities, or just going over the same behaviors? Are the pools "enrichment pools" with interesting things to look at and play with? Is it preferred that they focus on their performance behaviors during that time?


    Quote Originally Posted by Skylala View Post
    Regarding those experiments, I have seen those videos, quite a few years ago. Yes they were very fascinating but really not as 'clever' as they make it out to be.


    All they do is train the dolphins to learn signals for objects.
    Ball. Frisbee. Hoop. Basket.


    They train the dolphins to understand a signal which means 'put in', 'put on', 'left', 'right' etc.


    But this doesn't prove any special intelligence actually. In the end it's a trick.


    Object recognition can easily be taught to dogs as well. So can putting objects inside other objects.
    For example, training your dog to learn 'Rope', 'ball' and 'frisbee'


    Then training your dog to put them in a basket.
    You can ask "Put the ball in the basket" and he will choose the ball out of the 3 objects and put it in the basket.


    I'm sure the 'yes' or 'no' test could be taught to dogs as well, though I have never seen it performed by dogs. But the same techniques would be used as object recognition, so I think it could be done.

    It's more complicated that that. It's not just grammar. Word order (syntax) is extremely critical, and to date, there is evidence that just a few species understand it (humans obviously, bonobo chimpanzees, dolphins). To quote the Dolphin Institute:


    "[O]ur work with a dolphin named Akeakamai has shown her ability to understand instructions given within an artificial sign language, in which gestures are like words and sequences of gestures are like sentences. The dolphin demonstrated her understanding by carrying out the instructions correctly in the large majority of cases, including instructions new to her experience. To understand the instructions, the dolphin had to take account of both the meaning of the words (gestures) and word order. That is, she had to account for both the semantic and the syntactic component of the language. The sentences comprising the instructions may be from two to five words in length. For the two-word sentences we state an object name and then we state an action name. The dolphin understands to take the named action to the named object. For example, the gestural instruction directs Akeakamai to jump over the dolphin Phoenix. Other sentences request Akeakamai to construct a relation between two objects, by taking one object to another or placing one object on top of or inside another. Word order must be taken into account. For example, the gestural sequence Surfboard Person Fetch means, "take the person to the surfboard," whereas the sequence Person Surfboard Fetch means the opposite, -"take the surfboard to the person." The grammar used is inverse in its construction, in the sense that the destination object is stated first, then the object to be operated on, and finally the type of operation. This inversion requires the dolphin to receive and process the entire sequence before it can reliably interpret the instruction and organize its response. Finally, there are also gestures for left and right, relative to the dolphin as she faces her trainer. For example, the five-word sequence, Right Basket Left Frisbee In means, "Put the Frisbee on your left in the basket on your right." Most often, the dolphin carries out her instructions correctly, occasionally operating on the wrong object, but hardly ever mistaking the grammatical form of the sentence. Our work, like the later work with the bonobo, has demonstrated that dolphins and bonobos are capable of processing two of the fundamental properties of language system-the semantic component, which deals with meaning and the things that word refer to, and the syntactic component, which is a system, such as word order, that governs how one word is related to another word in a sentence grammatically."


    I encourage you to read their articles:


    Herman, L. M. (in press). Language learning. In W. F. Perrin, B. Wursig, C. M. Thewissen, & C. R. Crumley (Eds.). Encyclopedia of Marine Mammals. NY: Academic Press.
    Herman, L. M. & Uyeyama, R. K. (1999). The dolphin's grammatical competency: Comments on Kako (1998). Animal Learning & Behavior, 27-18-23.
    Herman, L .M., Kuczaj, S. III, & Holder, M. D. (1993). Responses to Anomalous Gestural Sequences by a Language-Trained Dolphin: Evidence for Processing of Semantic Relations and Syntactic Information. Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, 122, 184-194.
    Herman, L. M., Morrel-Samuels, P. (1990). Knowledge acquisition and asymmetries between language comprehension and production: Dolphins and apes as a general model for animals. In M. Bekoff & D. Jamieson (Eds.), Interpretation and explanation in the study of behavior: Vol. 1: Interpretation, intentionality, and communication. (Pp. 283-312). Boulder: Westview Press.
    Herman, L. M. (1986). Cognition and language competencies of bottlenosed dolphins. In R. J. Schusterman, J. Thomas, and F. G. Wood (Eds.) Dolphin cognition and behavior: A comparative approach. (Pp. 221-251). Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.
    Herman, L. M., Richards, D. G. & Wolz, J. P. (1984). Comprehension of sentences by bottlenosed dolphins. Cognition, 16, 129-219.


    If you still think the dolphins are merely performing tricks, then you can take it up with the study authors and the peer-reviewed journals that publish them.


    Quote Originally Posted by Skylala View Post
    What I ask is, why CAN'T it be a performance? (Remembering the animals actually are given other forms of enrichment)
    If you agree that performances, in front of crowds or in private, are enriching for the animals, why is it so bad?


    (And regarding the loud music, remember orcas and dolphins don't hear like we do. They most likely can't even hear the frequency in which the music is being played, and if they can it's at the very edge of their hearing ability, more like background noise)


    Would it be better to just teach them things, but keep it private and don't let people see it? Why is that better?
    It makes almost no difference to the animal if there is a crowd or not, so the only problem is from peoples perspectives. They THINK it's bad to let people watch.

    What I've always read is that the pool and amphitheater setting actually amplify the sound waves. You're right, they don't hear like we do, but they are very sensitive to the vibrations. The sound waves vibrate the jaws of dolphins.


    Dolphins can distinguish between 90dB (loud) and 110dB tones (louder, http://www.dtic.mil/get-tr-doc/pdf?AD=ADA505152) and can detect up to 150,000hZ vibrations. Concerts register around 120dB, and car horns register 110dB. I have seen claims that Shamu shows average 90dB, but I can't verify these claims scientifically. I don't argue that this is enough to cause hearing damage, as some people do, just that it is a likely source of stress. This stress likely combines with other stressors, such as incompatible tank mates, and provides a plausible explanation for the ulcers that are common in captive cetaceans.


    I would like very much to find studies that show that crowd noise/vibrations do not cause them stress. I would like to think like you do, that it doesn't matter one way or the other if the audience were present. But I need to see research that suggests it doesn't bother them, when logic would suggest it does. I would still prefer the breeding program to come to an end for all the other stated reasons, but I would feel just a little but better about their existing lives in captivity. Still need to do something about the teeth gnashing, though...


    Again, the shows make me uncomfortable, but they are secondary to my main, essential argument that dolphins and orcas are too intelligent and too self-aware to be kept captive in small (relative to body size) pools.


    Quote Originally Posted by Skylala View Post
    Believe me, I'm all for more immersive habitats.
    Sea World in Australia have beautiful dolphin habitats. Sandy bottom lagoons with 'beaches', rocks, pretty sure they have other small animals in the pool to help with filtration. But if you have other animals with them it can become a dangerous situation for one or both animals so you must be careful mixing animals, particularly small animals that can be eaten or attacked.
    Also the type of rocks have to be considered carefully. Small rocks are harmful. Dolphins and orcas have died from swallowing rocks in their 'natural sea-pen habitats'. (Nami the orca)


    Things like bubbles, waterfalls, water-jets, tide-makers. I'm all for them (A lot of them already exist in dolphin tanks), but they don't make the animals think and use their brain. They're just a kind of toy. The animals do receive toys as enrichment as well.

    I'm sure they do have time with those things, but I have been asking: How much time do they get with them? I'm also certain that an ideal habitat can be created based on knowledge gained and mistakes made (sandy bottom, anyone?). Also, what's so wrong with seeing a dolphin eat live fish? Would that be too traumatic for younger kids, or would it be a valuable teaching moment for parents?


    Have you seen the clips of dolphins creating various ways of spinning, winding, and popping the bubbles. It was like they had made up a game. Isn't that thinking? I have a hard time understanding your position. How is being trained to jump really high and touch a flag more thought-inducing than inventing a game with other dolphins and a bubble machine? Seriously.

  6. #231

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    Re: See "Blackfish" before going to SeaWorld

    Quote Originally Posted by Skylala View Post
    The animals will always get their fill of food, and the way they receive it is random.

    Forgot to mention that this sounds just like partial reinforcement, such as variable interval (VI) reinforcement, which is well-known for having a very low extinction rate. This is because the trainee doesn't know when to expect a reward. Contrast this with a continuous reinforcement (CR) schedule, in which the trainee is rewarded for the correct response every time. If the reward is suddenly not given for a period of time, the CR trainee is more likely to discontinue the desired behavior, as the reward was not given when expected and there is no precedence for reestablishing the reward. However, the VI trainee is accustomed to receiving a reward at random intervals, and will continue to perform the desired behavior long after the CR trainee stops.


    Point being, the rewards are given randomly for a highly controlled reason, and the trainee is expecting the reward at any time. Don't skip over the fact that the trainee still expects to get rewarded, maybe not after this behavior but maybe after the next. They're just not as disappointed when they're not rewarded as a CR trainee would be.


    I'm not surprised Sea World uses this reinforcement schedule, as partial reinforcement is more realistic to use than continuous reinforcement. It's very common in animal training. Mind you, it would also prevent the animal from getting full before the lesson is over...


    This is basic intro to learning and memory material, but here is some more reading:
    A recent article: Resistance to Extinction following Variable-Interval Reinforcement: Reinforcer Rate and Amount
    Classic studies on partial reinforcement:
    Lewis, D.J., & Duncan, C.P. (1956). Effect of different percentages of money reward on extinction of a lever-pulling response. Journal of Experimental Psychology, 52(1), 23-27.
    Lewis, D.J., & Duncan, C.P. (1957). Expectation and resistance to extinction of a lever-pulling response as functions of percentage of reinforcement and amount of reward. Journal of Experimental Psychology, 54(2), 115-120.
    Lewis, D.J., & Duncan, C.P. (1958). Expectation and resistance to extinction of a lever-pulling response as a function of percentage of reinforcement and number of acquisition trials. Journal of Experimental Psychology, 55(2), 121-128.
    Jenkins, W.O., & Stanley J.C., Jr (1950) Partial reinforcement: A review and critique. Psychol. Bull., 47, 193-234.
    http://garfield.library.upenn.edu/cl...HZ33300001.pdf

    So, thanks for jogging my memory

  7. #232

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    Re: See "Blackfish" before going to SeaWorld

    Seaworld spend 0.06% of their profits on conservation.

  8. #233

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    Re: See "Blackfish" before going to SeaWorld

    Blackfish backlash picking up steam: Trainers defend SeaWorld, point out errors - Orlando Theme Parks | Examiner.com

    "Blackfish is a movie that is designed to make you feel. It is not a movie that is designed to make you think. I think it is one-sided."

    He makes my point better than I did.

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  10. #235

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    Re: See "Blackfish" before going to SeaWorld

    Did you even watch the movie? It provides us with dates that I did go and research that are correct. Dawn died in 2010. that was only 4 years ago. Then you look at Keltie Byrne in 1991 who was killed by Tilly. It is not that he is evil but that these animals were not meant to be captive.

    And to KingEric you have to be out of your mind to sit there and say "While I understand the concern, and how people want to help the Orcas, they miss the bigger issue of protecting our Oceans long term." How does Sea World and saving the ocean correlate? I don't see Sea World out there sending millions of dollars (because you know they have money) down to save the reefs and clean the ocean....

  11. #236

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    Re: See "Blackfish" before going to SeaWorld

    I also mentioned the fact that self-aware animals are not used, which is the most important point for me.
    I thought elephants were self aware.

    That is still much greater than a few minutes per day. And what are they doing between shows? Are they still in holding pens, preparing for the next show? What is their "free time" like between shows when they're doing 5 shows a day? Where are they held? Are they being engaged in other enrichment activities, or just going over the same behaviors? Are the pools "enrichment pools" with interesting things to look at and play with? Is it preferred that they focus on their performance behaviors during that time?
    Well I can't answer that. I've never been to SeaWorld in America. I have only been to Sea World in Australia, and I've only been there a couple of times.

    Like I said, here, the back pools are natural sandy bottom lagoons with rocks and beaches and some form of sea vegetation.
    http://www.festivalaustralia.com.au/...d/seaworld.jpg

    Here is my own photo of a dolphin playing with some seaweed-type thing found naturally in it's habitat.
    IMG_3113 | Flickr - Photo Sharing!

    Though at American SeaWorld we know the dolphins and whales don't have tanks like this...
    The orcas used to have a nicer back tank with rocky walls and rocks on the floor, but they had to be removed to comply with OSHA forcing SeaWorld to make the environment more safe for people.
    (During Dawns attack, they tried to deploy nets but they got snagged on the rocks. So bye-bye rocky walls. And they had created the raising floor to protect employees, so bye-bye rocks on the floor)

    Thanks to OSHA the tanks are as barren as ever.

    But yes, they do get play time with toys, bonding time with trainers and other animals, rest time. I can't say how long each session is. I know for a fact you can't spend hours upon hours 'training' because the animal gets bored and frustrated.
    So lets say they spend 1 hour training (30 minutes is more likely), 2 hours in performance (1 hour is more likely), then 1 hour for other things like vet checks... food... I don't know. Whatever else. then they are left with 20 hours of the day for play, bonding and rest.

    Dolphins can distinguish between 90dB (loud) and 110dB tones (louder, http://www.dtic.mil/get-tr-doc/pdf?AD=ADA505152) and can detect up to 150,000hZ vibrations. Concerts register around 120dB, and car horns register 110dB. I have seen claims that Shamu shows average 90dB, but I can't verify these claims scientifically. I don't argue that this is enough to cause hearing damage, as some people do, just that it is a likely source of stress. This stress likely combines with other stressors, such as incompatible tank mates, and provides a plausible explanation for the ulcers that are common in captive cetaceans.
    dB are a measurement of the intensity of sound... How loud it is. If a sound is being played at a frequency beyond your hearing ability, no matter how loud you turn the volume up, you still can't hear it. Maybe you could feel it... But you can't hear it.

    Humans hear within a frequency range of 20Hz - 20,000 Hz (20 KHz)
    Pitch and Frequency

    Orcas have the most sensitive hearing range between 15,000 - 42,000 Hz (15KHz - 42KHz), though apparently can hear between 500 Hz - 100KHz. And I'm pretty sure I read that dolphins sensitivity is at an even higher range than orcas.
    http://www.whoi.edu/fileserver.do?id...4&pt=2&p=55206
    http://seaworld.org/en/animal-info/a...-whale/senses/
    Orcas: Killer Beauties - Senses & Communication

    Most instruments don't play at a frequency higher then 5KHz. Most sit around 500Hz-1KkHz.
    Digital Audio Stuff - Frequency Ranges

    With this information, knowing that orcas are at their most sensitive hearing at 15KHz, and music is going to be hard pressed to surpass 10KHz, while they MIGHT be able to hear a little bit, it probably wouldn't bother them. I don't know if they can FEEL the vibrations in the water. Maybe. But they can still feel the vibration from a simple hand slap on the waters surface so it can't be that extreme.

    I would like very much to find studies that show that crowd noise/vibrations do not cause them stress. I would like to think like you do, that it doesn't matter one way or the other if the audience were present. But I need to see research that suggests it doesn't bother them, when logic would suggest it does.
    I don't know if there is such a study.
    All I have heard is anecdotes from trainers and frequent guests, which say that during a show with an audience, the animals can be more eager and enthusiastic in their behaviors compared to no crowd.
    Take that however you want.

    Have you seen the clips of dolphins creating various ways of spinning, winding, and popping the bubbles. It was like they had made up a game. Isn't that thinking? How is being trained to jump really high and touch a flag more thought-inducing than inventing a game with other dolphins and a bubble machine? Seriously.
    They create bubbles from their own blowholes. They have access to this 'game' 24/7. Interestingly, this game was most likely created out of boredom.
    A little bit of boredom is good. It gets the animals to create things on their own. So yes that is thinking.

    But consider this: Give a child a bubble machine and they will be super happy for the first 10-15 minutes. They will LOVE it. Maybe in half an hour they still might be playing with it... Maybe.. But soon they will get bored. The novelty is gone. They might come back to it every now and then, but it's not as exciting as it was.

    Compare that to a classroom where a child is learning maths. The child is engaged and thinking for the whole lesson.
    Do another lesson and learn new things, the child is engaged again. And again. And again.

    Bring back the bubble machine? yeah maybe another 5 or 10 minutes of fun, then it's boring again.



    My thought is give the animals as MUCH enrichment as possible. That INCLUDES training and performing. That ALSO includes bubbles and play and bonding.
    I don't want to take away enrichment for the animals just because it makes people feel bad.

    And yes I know the reason they give the food randomly Some people think that they expect food every single time when we know that is not correct.
    Last edited by Skylala; 01-22-2014 at 05:46 PM.

  12. #237

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    Re: See "Blackfish" before going to SeaWorld

    Quote Originally Posted by Skylala View Post
    I thought elephants were self aware.

    First of all, as I have said, I was simply comparing the San Diego Zoo show with Sea World's show. Elephants are not used in the San Diego Zoo show, nor are they used in the Los Angeles Zoo Birds of the World show. If they are used in your country at zoo shows, I'm sorry. That stinks. But like I said previously, I have no control over anything that happens in a country of which I am not a citizen.


    Secondly, the fact that shows happen is just adding insult to injury, and is just a peripheral argument. The central issue is that the lifespan of captive cetaceans is shorter than in the wild, because they do themselves much dental harm by compulsively gnashing their teeth on their enclosures, are often housed with incompatible conspecifics which causes stress and possible physical harm, and are housed in pools infinitesimally smaller than their natural range. Those citations have been posted already. If you really want to change my mind regarding captivity, it would be wise to target those points in your argument.


    Quote Originally Posted by Skylala View Post
    Well I can't answer that. I've never been to SeaWorld in America. I have only been to Sea World in Australia, and I've only been there a couple of times.


    Like I said, here, the back pools are natural sandy bottom lagoons with rocks and beaches and some form of sea vegetation.
    http://www.festivalaustralia.com.au/...d/seaworld.jpg


    Here is my own photo of a dolphin playing with some seaweed-type thing found naturally in it's habitat.
    IMG_3113 | Flickr - Photo Sharing!


    Though at American SeaWorld we know the dolphins and whales don't have tanks like this...
    The orcas used to have a nicer back tank with rocky walls and rocks on the floor, but they had to be removed to comply with OSHA forcing SeaWorld to make the environment more safe for people.
    (During Dawns attack, they tried to deploy nets but they got snagged on the rocks. So bye-bye rocky walls. And they had created the raising floor to protect employees, so bye-bye rocks on the floor)


    Thanks to OSHA the tanks are as barren as ever.

    That's very lovely, and it's a real shame it can't be like that here.


    But regardless of whose fault it is, the tanks are still barren. A real shame.


    Of course, if Sea World employees were never involved in scheduled shows, swimming with them, lying next to them, and riding them (and allegedly feeling pressured to put on a good show even if the animals were non-cooperative), then OSHA may never have acted to remove those things. Unfortunately, we are left dealing with the results.


    Quote Originally Posted by Skylala View Post
    But yes, they do get play time with toys, bonding time with trainers and other animals, rest time. I can't say how long each session is. I know for a fact you can't spend hours upon hours 'training' because the animal gets bored and frustrated.
    So lets say they spend 1 hour training (30 minutes is more likely), 2 hours in performance (1 hour is more likely), then 1 hour for other things like vet checks... food... I don't know. Whatever else. then they are left with 20 hours of the day for play, bonding and rest.

    I'd like to think that's true, but again, we don't know the specifics.


    Quote Originally Posted by Skylala View Post
    dB are a measurement of the intensity of sound... How loud it is. If a sound is being played at a frequency beyond your hearing ability, no matter how loud you turn the volume up, you still can't hear it. Maybe you could feel it... But you can't hear it.

    Exactly my point. The sound waves are felt as vibrations within the dolphin jaw. I'm not arguing that they're going deaf like some activists claim, I'm just pointing to excess vibrations as a possible source of stress. In Dolphin in the Mirror, Dr. Reiss mentioned her objection to the building of roller coasters near the dolphin enclosures at Marina World, precisely because of the vibrations. We know they feel stress, as the ulcers and other health issues indicate. I'm looking at possible sources.


    Quote Originally Posted by Skylala View Post
    Humans hear within a frequency range of 20Hz - 20,000 Hz (20 KHz)
    Pitch and Frequency


    Orcas have the most sensitive hearing range between 15,000 - 42,000 Hz (15KHz - 42KHz), though apparently can hear between 500 Hz - 100KHz. And I'm pretty sure I read that dolphins sensitivity is at an even higher range than orcas.
    http://www.whoi.edu/fileserver.do?id...4&pt=2&p=55206
    http://seaworld.org/en/animal-info/a...-whale/senses/
    Orcas: Killer Beauties - Senses & Communication


    Most instruments don't play at a frequency higher then 5KHz. Most sit around 500Hz-1KkHz.
    Digital Audio Stuff - Frequency Ranges


    With this information, knowing that orcas are at their most sensitive hearing at 15KHz, and music is going to be hard pressed to surpass 5KHz, while they MIGHT be able to hear a little bit, it probably wouldn't bother them. I don't know if they can FEEL the vibrations in the water. Maybe. But they can still feel the vibration from a simple hand slap on the waters surface so it can't be that extreme.

    Like I said, dolphins do feel vibrations in the water (citation already provided elsewhere). The music is amplified, and the crowd noises are pointed towards the pool, based on the shape of the amphitheater. The argument that is commonly used is that the vibrations from these sources cause dolphins stress, as do the vibrations of their own echolocation bouncing back to them. If you can prove that this argument is incorrect, great.


    Quote Originally Posted by Skylala View Post
    I don't know if there is such a study.
    All I have heard is anecdotes from trainers and frequent guests, which say that during a show with an audience, the animals can be more eager and enthusiastic in their behaviors compared to no crowd.
    Take that however you want.

    That would be very nice to believe, but I'm trying to avoid (1) anthropomorphism, and (2) reliance on first party sources that could possibly have their own agendas. Hence, the peer reviewed journal articles.

    Edit: By avoiding "first party" sources, I mean that I'm trying to avoid sources tied to either Sea World or Blackfish.

    Quote Originally Posted by Skylala View Post
    They create bubbles from their own blowholes. They have access to this 'game' 24/7. Interestingly, this game was most likely created out of boredom.
    A little bit of boredom is good. It gets the animals to create things on their own. So yes that is thinking.


    But consider this: Give a child a bubble machine and they will be super happy for the first 10-15 minutes. They will LOVE it. Maybe in half an hour they still might be playing with it... Maybe.. But soon they will get bored. The novelty is gone. They might come back to it every now and then, but it's not as exciting as it was.


    Compare that to a classroom where a child is learning maths. The child is engaged and thinking for the whole lesson.
    Do another lesson and learn new things, the child is engaged again. And again. And again.


    Bring back the bubble machine? yeah maybe another 5 or 10 minutes of fun, then it's boring again.

    Of course I do not mean that they should be given a bubble machine for hours and that is their only source of enrichment. I do believe I said they should be given a variety of objects to investigate and play with, and that trainers should be engaging them often. They could even be testing them for word order recognition, as described in one of my recent posts, and hiding various objects and letting them use echolocation to find them, as shown in one of the videos I linked to, etc. There are lots of possibilities, and they don't all involve food rewards or structured activity.


    My point is and has always been that enrichment activities do not have to culminate in a performance in front of an audience. Why does it have to be a show? Why can't trainer interaction be for the animals' own good?


    Further, you still have not explained why training to jump really high and touch a flag or flip around, or training to swim around and splash the audience is equivalent to learning math, but none of the activities I mentioned are. Why is it only like learning math when the activity culminates in a show with an audience?


    Why can't the trainers' jobs be more about enriching the animals' lives and less about putting on a good show? Why can't it be more like a zoo, in which you walk from one exhibit to the next, viewing the animals in a more natural environment? Because that is what you're used to? Because people would think that was boring?


    As Diana Reiss explains (much better than I could) in The Dolphin in the Mirror:


    “Aquariums, if they are to be viable in the future, must develop educational venues that allow people to experience for themselves the remarkable cognitive abilities and social prowess of dolphins. Rather than putting on 1950s-style dolphin shows, educational and entertaining films could be shown to teach visitors about dolphins, including the traits that have made them so interesting to the public from ancient times to the present. Aquariums need to provide experiences and tell stories that create the pattern that connects us to dolphins in a visceral way. And it is also the responsibility of aquariums to educate people about the plight of dolphins in the wild and engage their participation in alleviating the problems. In other words, I think that any aquarium that maintains social groups of dolphins must commit not only to attending to the welfare of the individuals in its care but also to fighting for the welfare of dolphins in the wild, including the conservation and protection of wild populations. If these two conditions are met, I support this second, more complex proposal, that aquariums maintain the current population of captive dolphins [while phasing out the breeding program, as she had discussed in a previous paragraph -- TFS]. I support it now in the world we live in, because at this point dolphins and whales need to be in the public eye and heart. We need to fight for their protection.


    "The past half a century has seen an odd contradiction in the evolution of zoos and aquariums, at least as far as dolphins are concerned. The first zoos were little more than menageries, often established by noblemen as curiosities, displaying exotic animals captured from the Dark Continent. The animals were viewed as spectacles or even freaks, housed in small cages with prisonlike bars. Beginning in the twentieth century, zoos gradually became wildlife parks, providing animals with more space and richer environments that approximated their natural habitats in some measure. No one is fooled into thinking that he is in a truly natural environment when he goes to a wildlife park, but from an animal welfare point of view, these establishments are a terrific improvement over menageries.


    "For dolphins in aquariums, the opposite has occurred. Where once they swam in the company of fish, turtles, seals, and other sea life, they are now too often housed in sterile tanks, in the interests of sanitation. Not all aquariums do this, of course, but most do. And most aquariums continue to see dolphin shows as not only appropriate but as centerpieces of their aquariums. Many managers of aquariums maintain that dolphin shows are what the public wants. They want to see dolphins do higher and higher jumps to reach the omnipresent ball hanging from above. Frankly, I find dolphin shows to be old style rather than forward looking and transformational. They take us back to the mentality of menageries, with animals being held as spectacles to be ogled. Having dolphins jump higher and higher and do ever more clever tricks demeans them as objects; it does not respect them for the kind of animals they really are. I view aquariums that indulge in these archaic displays as letting down both people and dolphins.


    “There once was a time when chimpanzees in zoos were dressed in human clothes and made to act out tea parties, ride bikes, smoke pipes, all kinds of activities that had nothing to do with the kind of creatures that chimpanzees are. One has to be getting on in years to remember these spectacles, because many years ago they were recognized as demeaning and stopped. When will making dolphins perform tricks that have nothing to do with their lives be similarly recognized as demeaning, and similarly stopped?”

    She goes on to describe potential models based on good zoo exhibits, such as the gorilla exhibit at the Bronx Zoo. I don't want to post the whole chapter, or anything, but it's a really good read and I do recommend it highly if you're at all interested in dolphin intelligence.
    Last edited by The First Star; 01-22-2014 at 07:44 PM. Reason: clarification

  13. #238

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    Re: See "Blackfish" before going to SeaWorld

    I want to address the accusation that animals or trainers are pressured to put on a show no matter what. I've been to SeaWorld when the whale or dolphin show was less impressive than others and when the animals clearly weren't doing what was expected of them. Some shows are better than others, but it's understandable because they're animals.

    I've been to shows that were cancelled because the animals as a group weren't interested in doing the show. In the case of a cancelled show, an explanation was given that if the animals were interested in other things and not the trainers, there was no punishment but also no show. As a visitor, I appreciate that. I didn't feel like anyone in the audience was complaining about this. I got the feeling people understood and moved on.

    I've been to Busch Gardens Williamsburg when the pet show and wolf show was cancelled because the day was too hot, and the animals would be too heat-stresssed if they did a show.

    I've also been to shows at SeaWorld and Busch Gardens that were curtailed or cancelled because or lightning in the area.

    I don't think the park is averse to modifying or cancelling shows based on the animals level of interest or dangerous weather. Assuming the animals and mother nature cooperate most of the time, the park does what is best for the safety of the animals, the employees, and the visitors, and the bottom line works itself out. I doubt there is substantial pressure on the trainers to put on a show.

  14. #239

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    Re: See "Blackfish" before going to SeaWorld

    You make a good point, and that's why I qualified my statement with the term, "allegedly," and put the statement in parentheses. As I said several pages ago, we don't know what was going on in Dawn's head when it happened, one way or the other. Did she feel pressure to continue with the show, as was alleged in Blackfish? Or would she not feel pressure because she was trained not to, as was alleged in the Blackfish backlash article? We don't know. Both possibilities are plausible. We also can't be sure that shows are canceled 100% of the time there is an issue. There may be other factors involved.

    And it's also within the realm of possibility that they are being incredibly careful now because of Dawn's death. Over time, standards may become lax again. (Brings to mind the managerial atmosphere at NASA tightening after Challenger, but becoming lax in the years leading up to Columbia. But that's just anecdotal.) While it is central to the Blackfish story of Dawn and the alleged "cover up," it's not central to my argument that the breeding program should end.
    Last edited by The First Star; 01-23-2014 at 01:12 AM.

  15. #240

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    Re: See "Blackfish" before going to SeaWorld

    i still dont understand why Seaworld havent sent their rescue people out to taiji if they love conservation so much.

    nothing to so with seaworld having backhand deals with the fisherman of Taiji is it?

    it all corrupt.

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