A study to measure the wellbeing of dolphins has been carried out at a theme park in France, and the results are pretty upsetting.
Well this is a study that is surprising to say the least. In the Parc Astérix in France, experts are trying to find out how happy dolphins are in captivity. They discovered that these animals enjoy interacting with familiar people. The tests therefore show that really strong relationships with humans are necessary for these marine mammals. Dr Clegg, one of those involved in the study, confirms that his team wanted “to understand what they liked to do most in captivity.”
Three tested activities
To find this out, scientists did three things with the dolphins. The first was human interaction with the dolphins; the second, letting them play games and observing; and finally, just leaving them to themselves.
“We’ve found a really interesting result – all dolphins really look forward to interacting with familiar humans,” said Dr Clegg. Apparently, the dolphins did something known as “spy hopping” which means they would watch out for their trainers and would wait for them to come back. The doctor confirmed that they have noticed the same behavior in other zoo and barnyard animals too.
So do they have a happy life?
The most important question that still remains is whether it is good or bad to keep these dolphins in captivity and not whether they enjoy contact with humans.
The French government has recently turned down a proposal to ban captive breeding in marine parks such as Parc Astérix.
For some people like Birgitta Mercera, director of the dolphin arena at Parc Astérix, this decision is a relief. She said, “I think that wild dolphins are happier in nature and dolphins born in captivity are a lot happier in captivity.” She added that “They are born here – this is their life and it is our priority to take care of them.”
It is important to note that this study won’t tell us the best environment for a dolphin born in captivity, but we hope it will allow us to improve the lives of these animals that will be forced to spend the rest of their days in these aquariums.
Check out the video above to find out more about the study and its results!