Posts Tagged ‘marine mammals’

The Post – New Evidence of Dolphin Intelligence

January 14, 2011

It’s not dolphins blowing bubble rings….though frankly I can’t blow bubble rings so I consider that talent above me and respect any dolphin or human who can do it.

But ANYWAY, several news outlets carried an article about Tanner, a dolphin at the Dolphin Research Center in the Florida Keys, who was featured for his ability to be blindfolded and still mimic what a fellow dolphin was doing.  CNN video of Tanner

I am not familiar with the place doing this study, but I located both a Facebook page for it, as well as their URL and some info on their mission:

Official Facebook Page – Dolphin Research Center

Some mission and history information from the web Page of the  Dolphin Research Center:

“DRC evolved out of the Institute for Delphinid Research. When DRC’s founders took over the facility in 1984, research remained a high priority. We have since expanded our in-house research goals, and also worked with world-renowned scientists who have come to DRC to study our resident colony of dolphins. General areas of interest include marine mammal cognition, behavior, and husbandry…….

In addition to maintaining the best possible environment for the dolphins and sea lions at the Center, we also dedicate ourselves to assisting marine mammals in distress in the surrounding waters of the Keys. For decades, DRC operated as the Southernmost member of the Marine Mammal Stranding Network. We rescued and rehabilitated whales and dolphins, providing expert medical attention to help ease the way for our marine friends from the wild. The rescue and rehabilitation procedures provided us with invaluable opportunities for critical research and data collection. DRC extended its rescue commitment to include the endangered manatee and is currently the only facility in the Florida Keys licensed by the Federal Government to assist manatees in distress.

To reach as many people as possible, the Center provides a variety of educational programs that allow the public a chance to learn firsthand about the world of the dolphin.”

I noticed that this facility rescues dolphins that are stranded, helps rehabilitate them, and takes in dolphins rescued from animal shows, or other facilities. So I considered them to be an ethical place. They also have expanded their rescue work to sea lions and the endangered manatees. So all in all they seem like a pretty good place.

Their site also notes that the public can make reservations to get in the water with dolphins, etc….some of the things questioned recently by dolphin researchers as to whether that is appropriate or not. It seems to cross a line from research to human entertainment. I didn’t have a problem with humans signing up to participate in part of their regular routines and care, but I have to admit, I felt like maybe having dolphins provide a “photo-op” for us might be using them a bit.

I have no proof as I’ve never been there and haven’t talked to anyone there. So it may be that the dolphins enjoy us and maybe we provide them with entertainment. This is one of those gray areas where maybe these programs will spawn future marine scientists. Yet I hope the rights of the marine mammals are kept front and center.

In any event, check out the sites. At the main page for the research center you can read a bio on all their creatures and even “adopt” one to help out with the cost of its care.


The Post – Dolphins: Artist Approach Step 1- Soul

January 9, 2011

I am not a marine scientist so I cannot weigh in on the scientific merits of the free vs. captive dolphin debate. However, I am an artist and there, I can serve the marine mammals. If seeing them in captivity is supposed to forge an emotional connection, then maybe seeing them lovely portrayed in a painting can do the same.

I also have a friend who expressed an interest in having a painting of a fish underwater. I think the original will have to be hers, but the prints will become my gift to the world and to dolphins in particular.

This morning, on a quest to see how I might approach this endeavor, I spent some quality time on Google images. Did a search on the term “dolphins underwater” and went to the “images” heading. There I found many photos to inspire me. I never actually copy a photo, but I do glean a “feeling” of the animal, it’s emotions, how it holds itself in the water, its soul.

But it’s not just the animal I need to “feel” but it’s environment. I need to “feel the fluidity, denseness, and motion” of the water around it along with how the light cuts through the layers of liquid. I need to feel the “temperature” of the environment – cold Arctic waters or warm Caribbean. And is it clear or cloudy with plankton, debris, dirt.

I often print out a few key pictures and just stare at them. Soak up their soul, shapes, colors….until I’ve internalized the animal and its space.

Next will be “Step 2 – Composition”  Stay tuned.