When you're around ten years old, swimming with dolphins seems like one of the coolest things in the world.
Growing up, we start to realise that maybe it's not right for parks to hold living creatures captive for our entertainment.
The documentary Blackfish did amazing work in exposing people to the real treatment of orcas in parks like SeaWorld, yet the dolphins often get overlooked.
Here at Cooler, we don't believe in keeping animals in captivity. Here are six compelling reasons why you should never buy a ticket to see a dolphin in captivity.
Wild Dolphins Swim 100 Miles A Day
In the wild, dolphins swim up to 100 miles a day in a straight line.
In America, the law requires dolphins have a tank of an average length of 14 feet, that's a tank dimension of 28 feet across and only 7 feet deep.
When you see the tanks in a SeaWorld or similar parks, you might think they seem vast, but to a dolphin it will feel very small.
When you're built to cover 700 miles of ocean every week, 28 feet of water to swim in for your entire life is a joke.
Captivity Halves The Life-Span Of Many Dolphins
Most dolphins in captivity don't live as long as wild dolphins - with many reaching just half the age of their wild counterparts.
There are many factors that contribute to this - from the stress of tank living to the constant shows and training, as well as sub-par living conditions in many unregulated parks.
We have to remember that this short life span occurs in an environment where the dolphins have access to human health care and medicine that wild dolphins do not.
These numbers simply show that there is nothing healthy about captivity, no matter how many health checks the animal receives.
Tanks Act Like An Echo Chamber
Dolphins communicate with one another using highly evolved sounds, whistles and pulses.
In the wild, dolphins can use these sounds to create intense networks and contact others far away from them.
In a tank, dolphins do not have the opportunity to use their voices properly.
When they whistle in a tank, the sound is echoed back to them with the walls creating an echo chamber effect.
Many dolphins can go quite literally mad from the sound of their voices echoing back to them. Some even turn violent.
They Miss Out On True Dolphin Life
The social networks created by dolphins in the wild are intricate and highly designed.
Captive dolphins often come from different regions and populations.
Dolphins in captivity are often forced to live with other species that may have trouble communicating with one another. They may not get on with one another, including species that would never meet in the wild.
When living in captivity, dolphins never experience a true family as they would in the wild and miss out on creating important connections.
Popularity Of Shows Contribute To Massacres
Each year - from September to May - over 20,000 dolphins are slaughtered in Japan.
Rounded up by the hundreds, sound barriers are used to disorient and herd the dolphins out of their normal migrations into hidden lagoons.
Bottlenose dolphins are pre-selected by trainers and sold off to parks around the world, where they will remain in captivity performing as circus acts.
After the trainers and spectators have left, the rest of the dolphins are inhumanely killed in what can only be described as a massacre.
You only need to watch the documentary, The Cove, to see the reality behind this industry.
Buying a ticket to a dolphin show funds the industry that causes this to happen each year.
If no one bought the tickets, there would cease to be a need to capture dolphins at all.
They Are Not Here To Entertain And Educate
None of the reasons used for holding dolphins in captivity stand up when analysed.
While many parks claim that the dolphins give them invaluable insight and education on mammal behaviour, the unnatural surroundings in which the animals are kept make it impossible to study them in any meaningful way.
Dolphins are used in therapy for children and adults. However, there is no real lasting evidence that this has any long lasting effect.
Dolphins are not here for our education, our entertainment or our curiosity.
Keeping another animal in captivity for our own needs is not acceptable in our modern society.
Spread the truth about dolphins in captivity and let's all help to empty the tanks once and for all.