Bullshit from the NOAA

by Simo

The NOAA, via its Nat'l Marine Fisheries Service, has published this pamphlet: Protect Dolphins -- Admire Them from a Distance. Now one would assume that this is a good thing: helping to educate the public so as to prevent harm to dolphins? You'd think so, however, this effort is completely counter productive.

Dolphins have a reputation for being friendly...

however, they are really wild animals who should be treated with caution and respect. Interactions with people change the behavior of dolphins for the worse. They lose their natural wariness which makes them easy targets for vandalism and shark attack.


"Interactions with people change the behavior of dolphins for the worse." Yeah, I can just see it now: allow dolphins to swim, of their own freewill, with people and the next thing you know, they're getting so drunk every week-end that they beat their pickumuptrucks senseless and drive their wives into overpass abutments, use their IDs to buy underaged highschool-ers beer, wine, and cigarettes at the neighborhood 7 -- 11 to pick up some extra walking-around money. And, of course, it's pretty obvious that once Flipper realizes that people can be friendly and make good companions, he will just naturally try to become pals with the first hammer head he meets. What does this mean? Change their behaviour for the "worse"? Is there no possibility that interaction with humans could change their behaviour for the better? By whose standards?

Targets for "vandalism"? Now 99.9% of the PaL understands "vandalism" to be the willful destruction and/or defacement of art objects, buildings, statuary, etc., in other words, of inanimate objects. This is illiterate.

Dolphins are hunters, not beggars...

but when people offer them food, dolphins, like most animals, take the easy way out. They learn to beg for a living, lose their fear of humans, and do dangerous things.

"But when people offer them food, dolphins, like most animals, take the easy way out. They learn to beg for a living..." (Good advise. How about applying it to those corporation whores who send legions of lobbyists to Capitol Hill to beg for their living?) "They.. lose their fear of humans" This is bullshit. There is no such thing as "fear of humans", as this is a learned behaviour. Those animals -- makes no difference: reptiles, birds, mammals -- that are not hunted or in any way disturbed by humans, do not fear humans. This would include birds such as the Chimney Swift. These guys are perfectly content in living in close proximity with humans, right in our homes, if we'd let them. Picking up and handling chimney swifts elicits nothing other than curiousity. Believe me, I've had to do this on more than one occasion. Chimney swifts allow themselves to be picked up easily. Want an exercise in futility? Try to catch a sparrow or robin that got trapped in the basement without a net. Furthermore, all the chimney swifts I liberated from the hot water heater vent were far more terrified at being trapped with no way out. They calmed down as they were being carried outside. Fear of humans? Not hardly! Then, again, they have never been given any reason to fear humans. Of course, this concept of "fear of humans" comes straight out of the Bible:

And the fear of you and the dread of you shall be upon every beast of the earth, and upon every fowl of the air, upon all that moveth upon the earth, and upon all the fishes of the sea; into your hand are they delivered.
-- Gen 9:2

There are all too many who refuse to recognize that this is an error. So they pretend that all animals naturally "fear" man. No amount of wishing that it were so will convert a falsehood into truth.

They swim too close to churning boat propellers...
Churning boat propeller

Now I've driven lots of boats; flown lots of light aircraft, and I have yet to see a propeller "churn". Propellers spin. This is an utterly dumbassed metaphor.

Dolphin scientists have proof of injuries...

"Dolphin scientists": dolphins who are also scientists? Or scientists who study dolphins? Another illiterate construct: "dolphin" is a noun, not an adjective. Where is that "proof"? It certainly doesn't appear anywhere in here.

feeding wild dolphin disrupts their social groups which threatens their ability to survive in the wild. Young dolphins do not survive if their mothers compete with them for hand-outs and don't teach them to forage.

This is more bullshit. The only situation where this is seen is in captivity. In order to force dolphins to perform on demand, it is an almost universal practice in dolphinaria to keep the dolphins underfed and hungry. If they want to eat, then they have no choice than to perform. "Wild" dolphins don't do this. Period. End of story.

Dozens of bites have been reported...

and people have been pulled under the water. A woman who fed a pair of dolphins and then jumped in the water to swim with them was bitten. "I literally ripped my left leg out of its mouth," she said during her week stay in the hospital.

"people have been pulled under the water....": it is captive Orcas who have done this. Dolphins never do that. It is more likely that someone who doesn't know any better will pull a dolphin under than the other way around. More bullshit. As for the woman involved in this story, by her own admission, she jumped into the water. In Mind of the Dolphin, Dr. Lilly states quite clearly that this is one of the things you don't do. You make your intentions clear to the dolphins before entering the water with them. She did exactly what Lilly warned against. Is it any surprise she got bit? Furthermore: "I literally ripped my left leg out of its mouth" -- so who gets the lion's share of the responsibility for her injuries here?

Dolphins are not water toys or pets...

the Flipper myth of a friendly wild dolphin has given us the wrong idea. Flipper was actually a trained, captive dolphin who did not bite the hand that fed him. However, truly wild dolphins will bite when they are angry, frustrated or afraid. When people try to swim with wild dolphins, the dolphins are disturbed. Dolphins who have become career moochers can get pushy, aggressive and threatening when they don't get the hand-out they expect

Lions and tigers and bears and dolphins! Oh my!

"The Flipper myth of a friendly wild dolphin has given us the wrong idea" This is an outright lie. The NOAA simply wants to negate 3,000 years of history here. Accounts of friendly "wild" dolphins come to us from as far back as ancient Greece. Indeed, even though Ricou Browning and Jack Cowden claim that they "created" Flipper, they did no such thing. They plagiarized a short story that originally was included in a much larger volume, Halleutica, written by Oppian and published in the year: 0200. It is the FACT of friendly free dolphins that has given us the FICTION of Flipper.

"Flipper was actually a trained, captive dolphin who did not bite the hand that fed him." In the first place, the character of Flipper was portrayed by five different female dolphins (there never was "a" Flipper). There is a reason for that: male dolphins are known to pop a rod at any time, and "extend" (pun intended) an invitation to yiff to the actors (especially women) during the filming of a scene. (Female dolphins do this as well; it's just not so obvious.) It was a "G-Rated" series of movies and TV shows. There were no "him's" (and their "X-Rated" behaviours) involved, never were. Furthermore, you can be certain that every one of these "Flippers" did, indeed, "bite the hand that fed them". Everyone who has ever worked with dolphins has, at one time or another, committed some faux pas that has led to nips and bites. They have no idea what they're talking about here.

"However, truly wild dolphins [As opposed to what? Falsely wild dolphins?] will bite when they are angry, frustrated or afraid." Big fucking deal: all dolphins, captive or not, are likely to bite under those conditions. This is nothing less than an attempt to provoke an unreasoning fear of dolphins. People have a tendency to want to destroy that which they fear and feel to be a threat. Great going there, assholes!


How does stupid shit like this happen? Certainly, bureaucrats and gov't workers aren't known to be the sharpest tools in the shed. That's why they "work" for the gov't instead of in the private sector, where they aren't qualified to do much more than ask: "Want to super-size that?" This pamphlet was either written by functional illiterates, which I would not discount, or this is how your gov't views you, Mr. John Q. Public: as a moron to be talked down to. This entire pamphlet, with its dumbassed metaphors, its gross factual errors, and its outright lies, is an insult to anyone whose IQ exceeds his shoe size. For the majority, you can be certain that this will wind up exactly where it belongs: discarded in the nearest trash can. This is indeed unfortunate, in that all too many snowbirds act improperly towards dolphins. There is a problem, but this pamphlet is not the solution.

There is another possibility. Suppose the NOAA had told the truth. Here is an example:

Dolphins are hunters, not scavangers...

It is not natural for dolphins to eat dead fish. That bait that has been baking in your live well for God knows how long has the potential to cause food poisoning. Furthermore, human food like pretzels, potato chips, and beer are incompatable with the dolphins' biochemistry. However, being the intensely inquisitive creatures that they are, they will want to try these foods if they see you eating them. That, however, doesn't mean that they should have it.

Suppose that this is what that pamphlet had said. How long do you think it would take after Mr. Snowbird confronted that cute 20-year-old female docent with the long, long, sun-browned legs and the short, short shorts after a show at "$leazy World", waving that gov't-approved pamphlet in her face, demanding to know why they were feeding the dolphins dead fish, to get in contact with their bought and paid-for $enator$ and Congre$$men to demand that the NOAA change it?

The NOAA serves too many masters. They are not the advocates for marine mammals, as they also have the mission to promote the use of marine resources. So you can expect that they will bust the occasional person who accepts a friendly dolphin's invitation to swim with him. They will do nothing about the captivity industry and its sleazy practices, such as forced underfeeding of performing dolphins, or trying to get to the bottom of why so many captive dolphins are dying in the numbers that they are. This is why they would rather hold a gun to your head (and make no mistake about this: that's precisely what gov't is: a gun to the head) than actually attempt to educate the public as to appropriate interactions with dolphins. That would be too much like work; it would pose a threat to too many "special interests"

Yeah, sometimes I am just so fucking proud to be an American.


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