Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Dolphins Can Be Traumatized by Swimming with People


Dolphins are too clever to be used as performing animals in theme parks and should not be forced to swim with people because it can leave them traumatized, according to experts. 

 

The creatures have long since been thought of as the most intelligent of animals and a new study has found their brains are second only to humans in size.
Lori Marino, a neuroscientist at Emory university in Atlanta, US, will tell the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) conference their high intelligence means they can suffer psychological problems linked to being captured and confined.

She said dolphins could be traumatised by being kept in a theme park or by swimming with tourists.
Dr Marino said: "Our current knowledge of dolphin brain complexity and intelligence suggests that these practices are potentially psychologically harmful to dolphins and present a misinformed picture of their natural intellectual capacities.
"Dolphins are sophisticated, self-aware, highly intelligent beings with individual personalities, autonomy and an inner life. They are vulnerable to tremendous suffering and psychological trauma."
Her research could raise questions for dolphin parks offering interaction with the mammals, who have been said to have healing qualities.

Disabled people have often cited the health benefits of swimming with dolphins.

Mark Simmons, science director for the Whale and Dolphin Conservation Society, said: "I do think we need to be very careful, not just swimming with dolphins but also watching them from boats as well.

"One of the indicators of intelligence unfortunately is that they can suffer in the same way we suffer.
"I'm quite sure they suffer in the ways that are very similar to us."

New evidence reveals dolphins have the biggest brains in the animal kingdom. For the rest of this story please read here: telegraph.co.uk

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