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Public Relations Dolphin Style!


When we think about dolphins we think of kind, gentle, smiling creatures. We also might think of the many stories of how a dolphin has saved a person from drowning, or even the songs and stories that have been written about their tremendous feats. Who could forget the tv series 'Flipper'? I mean, they even named a torch after dolphins, with their adverts claiming that it 'saves lives'.

Even though they don't have a camera-man following them around everyday, these dolphins sure get good press! But do they deserve it?

Dolphins may look like they're smiling, but that's just the way their mouths are shaped....I think though, that they may be laughing at us as behind those kind eyes lurks a darker side.

Dolphins are wild animals, and can be very rough and aggressive...after all, they really do 'swim with the sharks'!

Marine mammal biologist, Trevor Spradlin, says "People have been seriously injured while trying to interact with wild dolphins,and dolphins have been known to bite, ram, and pull people under the water's surface".

Dolphin Torch
Some dolphins (usually adult males) can be very aggressive and rough when it comes to people. Dr Amy Samuels and her colleagues studied 29 solitary dolphins it was very interesting.

In her study, only one out of the 29 dolphins (who was coincidentally called 'Flipper') saved a drowning boy.

But the other 28 dolphins, were very different. Some were kidnappers, some were sexually aggressive, and some had very serious "anger issues". ( can you believe that?) In her study, nearly 1/2 of the dolphins had 'misdirected sexual behaviour', and would direct this behaviour at people, buoys (the floating plastic things in the water), basically anything they could find really!

A kiss...or something 'suss'?
This isn't quite so funny when you consider that the dolphin has a penis over 30cm long! There are some stories how two dolphins (Donald and Percy) actually 'abducted' people, who then had to be rescued by boat!

Although all of this might make you go...ok, I'm not going to Seaworld!!! Their strange behaviour might make more sense when you realise that dolphins often suffer dreadfully at the hands of humans.Percy had a fishing hook in his eye and was exposed to sewerage. Donald had been injured from a boat propellor and had been shot. One dolphin had 35 injuries, 8 of which was life threatening!!!

Evil dolphin disguised as a whale killing a seal pup


However, dolphins are very clever animals, and, according to Dr.Karl, they must have very good public relation managers. Did you know that the Orca, also known as the Killer Whale, is actually a dolphin. How the dolphins managed to kick the 'Killer Dolphin' into the whale family, we don't know. If you ever need a some good publicity...hire a dolphin!



By Freya



Want to know more? Information sourced from:
http://www.abc.net.au/science/articles/2008/07/01/2291064.htm?site=science/greatmomentsinscience


Images, thanks to:
dolphin devil: http://swimatyourownrisk.com/
Dolphin torch: http://www.ampro.co.nz/
Dolphin kiss: http://shiftingbaselines.org/blog/dolphin-encounter.jpg Killer whale: http://press.princeton.edu/birds/shirihai/killers/killer_seal.gif