Charting interactions between dolphins and people
Irish Dolphins - Interactions between dolphins and people.  Including Fungie the Dingle Dolphin
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Saturday, 22nd December

Saturday 22nd December

One facet of having the supposedly superior intellect of the human mind is the state of contradiction. It gauchely manifests itself when two or more of our coveted predilections are operating in parallel conflict with one another. Basically we want it all and that gets a bit confusing sometimes.
The amount of people that have visited Fungie over the years and come away smiling is phenomenal. And if, God forbid, he was to get caught in a net one day, there would be an outcry from far and wide. Yet every year off the coast here a bycatch of dolphins that drown in drift nets are unceremoniously dumped back in the sea.
Our point of view is often in flux, we redefine our stance as more information is received; and so it has been with dolphin research over the years. It must be acknowledged there is no place for the captive dolphin in this day and age, that is fundamental. There are also measures being put in place to reduce bycatch in the fishing industry. But the grey area that is interacting with wild dolphins in the open sea is my own dilemma.
From an ethical point of view , passive observation of animals in the wild is the only way to go. Interaction by its nature on the other hand is obviously at odds with this, swimming with dolphins does change their behaviour. Fungie is a prime example of this and the summer circus that surrounds him, with boats and swimmers in hot pursuit. But just one swimmer is still a circus, be it only on a smaller scale. .Is it okay to swim with these “ambassador” dolphins, I ask you?
I watched a great piece of video yesterday taken in 1995 of “Dolphy”, a resident solitary dolphin off France. The great thing about this female bottlenose was that she was quite disinterested in the human condition and her best pal was a mongrel dog. It was brilliant to watch them swim together, the dolphin jumping over the dog repeatedly. I had to laugh, it said a lot…
Nick Massett

Date Posted: 22/12/2001
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