DR SIMON JR ADAMS, ZOO & WILDLIFE VETERINARY ADVISER, REVIEWS THE PERFECT PAIR: SHARDS FROM THE MIRROR
This important trilogy takes the reader on a roller-coaster ride – from the excitement of working with such wonderful marine mammals to the harsh reality of their existence in captivity.
This final part of The Perfect Pair Dolphin Trilogy - Shards from the Mirror - will demonstrate to the discerning reader just why cetaceans should not be kept in captivity … especially not for entertainment, which is so cruel.
Captivity simply cannot provide a suitable environment for these intelligent animals, who are in many ways one of our closest cousins in terms of communication and behavioural sophistication. In my opinion, even with the finest pool facilities, this is still the case. However, add inadequate facilities and poor management to the equation, and the captives do not last long.
Obviously, to protect the innocent (and, for legal reasons, the guilty too!), this story is written as a ‘Faction’ - a fusion of fact with some fiction - leaving the reader to discern where fact ends and fiction begins.
Personally, from my own experience as a zoo and wildlife vet, the facts outlined in this story when dealing with the corporate bodies behind animal entertainment are sadly all too familiar. Corporate accountants should never be allowed to overrule the welfare needs of animals used in entertainment, yet the financing and maintenance of even minimum welfare standards are only just beginning to be enforced.
As a young zoo vet, I was actively involved in the zoo reform movement to change zoo raison d’être from ‘Animal Entertainment /Attractions’ to ‘Conservation, Education and Welfare’ - a message that is lost on wild animal circuses and the many aquaria and animal attractions that are now appearing throughout the developing world. So please don’t make them profitable by visiting them.
My heart goes out to poor David - the only one who really had any understanding of the behavioural and health needs of the dolphins he loved so much. He was their only human advocate as most couldn’t, or wouldn’t, understand them … and the worst simply didn’t care.
By publishing this wonderfully-written and important testimony, let us all hope that the key message - that cetaceans should not be made to perform for public entertainment - finally gets through.
It is extremely sad that Capello’s psychic/empathic ability to communicate so effectively with cetaceans was lost to the world. However, I fully understand and support his moral dilemma and, as you will see, he did everything he could to help them.
My experience in the corporate-controlled zoo world was similar and just as traumatic, and I, too, left to become an independent adviser with the aim of promoting improved zoo and wildlife welfare. David Capello’s brave testimony has certainly pricked my conscience, spurring me to one day tell my story.
I hope that other trainers who have experienced this close connection with their dolphins and whales will contact the authors to explore this fascinating ability, which could lead to a whole new understanding of cetacean behaviour.
In summary, if you care about dolphins and whales, don’t support those who hunt them, whether their aim be to kill them, or to condemn them to a slow, torturous death in the captive ‘entertainment’ industry.
If you want real dolphin entertainment, take a boat trip and visit them in their natural home – the sea!
Further comment: David Capello … well done, sir, you have my respect and gratitude on behalf of dolphins and cetaceans held in captivity everywhere!
Dr Simon JR Adams, BSc (Hons), BVMS, MRCVS
Independent Zoo and Wildlife Veterinary Adviser