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Pacific White-Sided Dolphin Facts: Wild and Captive Animals

Linda Crampton is a writer and former science teacher with an honors degree in biology. She enjoys writing about science and nature.

Spinnaker was a rescued Pacific white-sided dolphin that lived at the Vancouver Aquarium.

Spinnaker was a rescued Pacific white-sided dolphin that lived at the Vancouver Aquarium.

Wild and Rescued Dolphins

Pacific white-sided dolphins are intelligent, playful, and very social animals. They live in large groups and often approach boats. They are interesting animals to observe in the wild. This article includes facts about both the wild dolphins and two rescued ones named Helen and Hana. The duo were deemed unreleasable and were taken to the Vancouver Aquarium in British Columbia.

The rescued dolphins at the aquarium were once a trio. Spinnaker (a male) died in 2012. In 2015, a sudden and tragic illness claimed the life of Hana, despite some very impressive attempts to keep her alive. Helen eventually gained a new companion. Chester was a rescued false killer whale who was also deemed unreleasable. He and Helen occupied the same tank for two years and seemed to develop a friendship. Sadly, Chester died in late 2017, leaving Helen alone again.

Unfortunately, dolphins are kept in captivity in other aquariums and marine parks. Sometimes this is necessary because the animal has been injured. The rescued animal may no longer be able to survive in the wild, even after it has been treated. In my opinion, this is the only justification for keeping a dolphin in captivity.

This is another Pacific white-sided dolphin at the Vancouver Aquarium. According to the photographer, it's one of the females.

This is another Pacific white-sided dolphin at the Vancouver Aquarium. According to the photographer, it's one of the females.

The scientific name of the Pacific white-sided dolphin is Lagenorhynchus obliquidens. Like other dolphins, porpoises, and whales, it belongs to the order Cetacea. The animals in this order are often referred to as cetaceans.

An Attractive Animal

Pacific white-sided dolphins live in the northern part of the Pacific Ocean. Although their exact colouration varies, in general the animals have a black back, grey sides with a white or light grey stripe, and a white throat and belly. The dolphin's lips are black.

The dorsal fin on the animal's back has a strong backwards curve and sometimes looks hooked. The fin is black on its upper portion and grey on the lower portion. The animal also has a pectoral fin on each side of its body. Some people prefer to call the pectoral fin a flipper, since unlike the fin of a fish it contains bones. The flipper bones resemble a short version of the bones in our upper arm, forearm, and fingers. This reminds us that whales are mammals, like us, and that their distant ancestors were land animals. The dolphin's tail is made of two lobes called flukes.

Life in the Wild

Pacific white-sided dolphins live in large groups that generally contain from ten to a hundred animals. They have also been observed in "supergroups", which may contain thousands of animals. They are sometimes seen in the company of other dolphin species or of whales. The dolphins frequently approach boats and ride on the bow waves. They are acrobatic and playful animals that often leap out of the water and do somersaults.

Like other cetaceans, the animals breathe through a blowhole on top of their head and need to come to the surface periodically to obtain oxygen. They can stay submerged for up to six minutes. They communicate with each other by whistles as well as by touch.

Evidence suggests that each animal has its own signature whistle. A "signature whistle" is a unique sound in an individual's repertoire that identifies it. Bottlenose dolphins also have signature whistles. Researchers are still exploring their functions.

Pacific white-sided dolphins feed on small fish and squid, which they find by echolocation. During this process, a dolphin emits high-pitched sounds. The sound waves bounce off objects and return to the dolphin, giving them an impressive amount of information about their environment. This information includes the location of an object as well as its shape, density, speed, and distance. The animals are often seen herding fish as they hunt.

Lagenorhynchus obliquidens reaches sexual maturity between the ages of seven and ten. The gestation period is twelve months. There seems to be a three to five year interval between births.

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The Vancouver Aquarium

The Vancouver Aquarium is located in Stanley Park, which is located near downtown Vancouver. The aquarium is a non-profit organization dedicated to education, research, and conservation. It actively participates in all these areas. It's a popular institution for schools, tourists, and local people.

Like many other facilities that house marine mammals, the aquarium has often faced criticism from animal rights activists for keeping intelligent and sentient beings like cetaceans in captivity. The aquarium has evolved over the years, however. Since 1996, it has no longer captured wild cetaceans. Any cetaceans that it has obtained have been either rescued animals that lack the skills to survive in the wild or animals born in other facilities. Some of the rescued animals have come from the aquarium's Marine Mammal Rescue Centre, which helps local animals in distress and releases them back into the wild whenever possible.

Another factor that draws the ire of animal rights activists is the death of a cetacean from anything other than old age. There have been a number of these deaths at the aquarium in recent years. The survival of whale and dolphin calves has been a particular problem.

I have no doubt that the aquarium staff care deeply for their charges, as I've often observed. It's unnaturał for a marine mammal to spend its life in a restricted area that gives them little to do, however. It's hard to imagine that this doesn't affect their health and resilience.

The entrance to the Vancouver Aquarium in Stanley Park

The entrance to the Vancouver Aquarium in Stanley Park

Spinnaker, Hana, and Helen

Spinnaker, Hana, and Helen were rescued by a Japanese institution after becoming entangled in fishing nets. They were declared unreleasable due to their injuries. The pectoral fins on the sides of Helen's body were partially amputated as a result of her entanglement in the net.

Rumours persist that the dolphins were actually injured in the annual Taiji dolphin drive, a horrible event in which the animals are caught for food and trapped for dolphinaria. The aquarium adamantly denies that this is true and says that Helen was rescued thousands of miles away from Taiji.

Spinnaker, the only male in the group, died in 2012 after a lengthy illness. He was about twenty-five when he died. Hana lived for around twenty-one years. Helen is probably a little over thirty years old. The maximum lifespan of Pacific white-sided dolphins is thought to be somewhere in the forties.

Helen and Hana performed in shows, as shown in the video below. Like the aquarium's policy on obtaining animals, the cetacean shows evolved over the years. Long before Hana's death, the animals stopped performing showy and unnatural tricks. The behaviours that they did exhibit during a show were ones that they performed in the wild.

This photo shows Helen's partially amputated pectoral fins or flippers. She's swimming in a small holding pool, which is connected to a larger and much deeper tank.

This photo shows Helen's partially amputated pectoral fins or flippers. She's swimming in a small holding pool, which is connected to a larger and much deeper tank.

In the video below, Helen and Hanna perform at the Vancouver Aquarium.

Hana's Illness and Death

On Monday, May 18th, 2015, staff members noticed that Hana was behaving abnormally. The aquarium's head veterinarian was contacted. With the assistance of "one of the world's top dolphin radiologists", the vet diagnosed gastrointestinal distention and inflammation. This is a condition that is known to progress rapidly and to be life threatening.

As Hana's condition worsened, the vet gathered together dolphin medical experts from around North America. They decided that the only treatment that had any hope of saving Hana's life was to perform the world's first intestinal surgery on a Pacific white-sided dolphin under general anesthesia.

Against all odds, Hana survived the surgery, which was performed on the Thursday evening of the week in which her illness was discovered. By Saturday morning, she was showing some signs of improvement. Sadly, on Sunday morning her condition began to deteriorate. She died on Sunday evening.

The cause of Hana's death was reported to be a gastrointestinal illness. Helen never showed signs of the disorder. A post mortem exam showed that the passageway where Hana's small intestine joined her large intestine was unusually narrow, which is thought to have contributed to her problem.

Aquarium staff talk to Helen after Hana's death

Aquarium staff talk to Helen after Hana's death

Helen's Life on Her Own

Shortly after Hana's death, I visited the aquarium and observed Helen. Every time she was at the water's surface in the shallow pool, she repeatedly lifted her head out of the water with a jerk while opening and closing her mouth. Her behaviour suggested that she had just regurgitated food. Each time I returned to Helen's tank after looking at other animals, she was still performing this odd behaviour. It looked very much like the repetitive actions that some captive animals perform under stress. Regurgitation and playing with the regurgitated food is a known indicator of boredom in captive cetaceans.

Interestingly, I discovered a YouTube video showing the same behaviour taking place while Hana was alive. Both dolphins were in the small pool, even though the big tank was (presumably) available to them. I find it so sad that even then the dolphins were behaving in a way that suggested that they were bored. The video is shown below.

I think that the aquarium is a wonderful educational resource. There is far more to see there than just marine mammals. I also applaud the aquarium's rescue and research efforts. I think that much more needs to be done to support the mammals that live at the aquarium, however. They need to have more space, more enrichment with respect to activities, and a better life.

How Could the Problem of Cetaceans in Captivity Be Solved?

The problem of eliminating the keeping of cetaceans in captivity or of improving their lives is not as easy as it sounds. The following methods have been suggested with respect to captive cetaceans, including the population that once lived at the Vancouver Aquarium.

Attrition: Some people have suggested that an institution's cetacean population should be removed by attrition. According to this plan, after each animal dies, no replacement would be brought into the aquarium. The problem with this idea is that the last animals would probably have an unhappy existence, since they would have no company. Cetaceans are social animals.

Transfer: Another suggestion has been to transfer whales and dolphins to larger facilities that have more animals. This would solve the problem of the lonely lives led by the last animals left in an institution. One possible problem is that in larger captive populations more breeding would occur, potentially increasing the size of the captive population.

Enhanced Habitat: Habitat expansion and enhancement was once suggested for the Vancouver Aquarium's cetacean habitats. Getting permission to expand further into Stanley Park—a major and much-loved tourist attraction—is always difficult, however. In addition, some people were worried that if the aquarium expanded it would obtain more cetaceans. This is another controversial topic. From one perspective, obtaining more Pacific white-sided dolphins for the aquarium would be good, since it would create a more natural community for Helen. The dolphins would need much more space to enable them to live a reasonably happy life, however.

Rehabilitation and Release: It's been proposed that any cetaceans presently at an institution be released into the wild. This is probably not a viable option. It would be very difficult to teach a cetacean that has been raised in captivity how to survive in the wild, even if we knew all the things that the animal needed to learn. The Marine Mammal Rescue Centre in Vancouver does rehabilitate and release cetaceans and other marine mammals, but all of these animals were rescued as adults or are able to survive in the wild. While it's true that Helen was rescued as an adult, she was deemed unreleasable in Japan due to her damaged pectoral fins.

Other ideas are being investigated to help rescued cetaceans and the problem of keeping them in captivity. One is the use of birth control drugs for captive cetaceans. Another is the creation of large sea pens to protect rescued animals and let them live a somewhat normal life.

Chester and Helen

At one point after Hanna died, Helen had a new companion. In July 2014, the aquarium's Marine Mammal Rescue Centre rescued a young false killer whale (Pseudorca crassidens). He was stranded in shallow water on Chesterman Beach in Tofino, Vancouver Island, and was named Chester. He was only four to six weeks old when he was found. Chester was injured, in distress, and abandoned.

After receiving intensive care, Chester recovered well. However, he lacked important survival skills that he would normally have learned from his mother and other members of his species. Fisheries and Oceans Canada (a government organization) declared that Chester was unreleasable due to his lack of skills.

The Vancouver Aquarium says that false killer whales and Pacific white-sided dolphins have lived together successfully in other facilities. They decided to place Chester in Helen's habitat so that each animal would have company. The original plan was for Hana, Helen, and Chester to live in the same tank.

The aquarium staff introduced the animals with caution, allowing limited interaction at first, and were prepared to separate them if there was a problem. The animals accepted each other's presence, however.

Chester seen from the underground viewing area in July 2015; he seemed to be just as interested in the people taking his photo as we were in him!

Chester seen from the underground viewing area in July 2015; he seemed to be just as interested in the people taking his photo as we were in him!

Observations Made After the Introduction

Helen was introduced to Chester in July 2015. Based on my observations made during a visit to the aquarium soon after the introduction, the two animals were already reasonably comfortable with each other's presence in the same tank. They came very close together when being fed but not when they were left on their own. They were still getting to know each other, though. One of the aquarium staff said that the relationship between the two cetaceans was changing daily. It was an exciting time.

I was very happy to see that even when Helen voluntarily stayed alone in the smaller tank, she seemed much happier than on my last visit. She didn't exhibit any stereotypical behaviour and even seemed to be looking at visitors with interest.

Chester was treated with care after he was placed in the tank. The area right next to the windows of the underground viewing area was roped off and monitored by a staff member during my visit. This prevented Chester from being upset by actions such as people tapping on the glass. Far from being upset, he seemed to be curious about all the people watching him and posed very nicely for photographs.

In the video below, Helen and Chester perform at the Vancouver Aquarium.

Performance Time

Helen gave a short and simplified performance during my July 2015 visit. It seemed that not much was being asked of her, which was nice to see. The performance was based on her natural behaviours. Chester already followed some instructions. When asked to do so, he opened his mouth to get his tongue patted and teeth rubbed, turned upside down to show his undersurface, and swam to a different trainer łocated nearby.

The video above was recorded in January 2016 and shows a more active performance by Helen. On a more recent visit to the aquarium, I saw that Chester had been taught a wider range of behaviours on command, although they were still natural ones.

Friendship and a Death

Helen and Chester eventually did more more than simply tolerate each other. They often swam beside one other, which is a sign of socialization. Their relationship seemed to be going well. I was happy that each of them had a companion. Their situation was not ideal, however. I was concerned about the amount of space that the animals would have in the future, especially when Chester was fully grown.

Two animals is nowhere near a big enough community for either Helen's species or Chester's. Pacific-white sided dolphins form close knit groups in the wild. As some people have said, it's impossible for even the best aquarium or marine park to give cetaceans a truly natural life.

In the wild, Pacific white-sided dolphins travel unimpeded for long distances and in large groups in their search for food. They frequently vocalize or interact with each other in some way, creating a rich social life. This situation can't be replicated in captivity. For rescued animals, though, we need to do the best that we can.

Chester died in November 2017. His behaviour suddenly changed and he died within a few days of showing symptoms. A necropsy showed that he had an infection caused by a bacterium named Erysipelothrix rhusiopathiae. This probably caused his death, although this isn't known for certain. Helen received antibiotics and has shown no signs of Chester's infection.

Pacific white-sided dolphins in the wild

Pacific white-sided dolphins in the wild

Helen's Situation

In January 2018, the aquarium announced that they would no longer house captive whales, dolphins, or porpoises, except for providing temporary care for rescued animals. They also announced that their current priority is "doing what is best" for Helen. Her partial flippers mean that she can't be released into the wild. In addition, she has lived in captivity for a long time and is considered to be a senior citizen with respect to the lifespan of her species. The aquarium has said that they would like her to have companionship, but that the situation is "complicated".

In June 2019, the aquarium said they hoped to move Helen to a facility that has companions for her by the end of 2019. According to the organization's website, however, Helen was still living there when this article was last updated. I hope she is reasonably content.

The press has announced that a confirmed home for Helen has been found in the United States and that she will be moved to SeaWorld in Texas. Five other Pacific white-sided dolphins live in the facility. If the announcement is correct, the other animals should provide company for Helen. Some people are worried that she will be asked to perform again, however. Nevertheless, as the headline in the last reference below says, the destination may be the “least worst” solution.

The aquarium's website still has a page with a picture of Helen and a brief description of her aid in echolocation research. I hope that if and when Helen is finally moved (which probably won’t happen until the coronavirus situation is solved), the transfer goes well. I also hope that she is content in her new home.


  • Facts about the Pacific white-sided dolphin from NOAA
  • Lagenorhynchus obliquidens information from the IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature)
  • An announcement about Hana's surgery and death from The Globe and Mail newspaper
  • Information about Chester from OceanWise (The aquarium is part of the OceanWise organization.)
  • A report about Chester's death from the CBC (Canadian Broadcasting Corporation)
  • An announcement that the Vancouver Aquarium will no longer keep cetaceans from Global TV BC
  • Vancouver Aquarium to move last dolphin out from The Star newspaper
  • A destination for Helen from The Star newspaper

© 2015 Linda Crampton


Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on July 18, 2016:

Hi, Val. Thank you very much for the comment. The intelligence of dolphins and whales is very interesting. I think that they deserve much better treatment from us than they're generally given.

ValKaras on July 18, 2016:

Alicia - As always, a fascinating and interesting hub coming from a well informed biologist. Dolphins are like "humans of the ocean", so intelligent, but much happier and playful than most of us. So sad about Hanna, but well, aquariums can only do so much to save them.

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on April 18, 2016:

Hi, Peggy. Yes, keeping animals in aquariums is definitely a conundrum. In many cases the animals should never have been brought into captivity, but in some cases the decision to bring an animal into captivity or leave it in the wild is not so easy.

I hope that all aquariums are thinking about how best to care for their charges, too. It seems to me that some are only doing this due to public pressure!

Peggy Woods from Houston, Texas on April 18, 2016:

We visited the Vancouver Aquarium many years ago and it is a beautiful facility. I would rather see all dolphins and whales in their natural environment but realize that some of them would not thrive. It is a conundrum. Nice to know that much thought is being given this situation. Hopefully all aquariums are doing the same for the best interests of the animals in their care.

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on October 11, 2015:

Thank you so much for such a kind comment, Peg. I appreciate your visit a great deal. I hope things continue to go well for Helen and Chester, too. I'll be visiting them again soon to see how they are doing.

Peg Cole from North Dallas, Texas on October 11, 2015:

Your empathy and concern for these creatures are endearing. Thanks for sharing the story of the dolphins. They are truly fascinating and intelligent beings. It was sad to hear of the two that passed away, made better by the joy that Helen has a new companion. I hope that all will work out for the two of them to get along in their improved surroundings. Truly a great read and write up, deserving of Hub of the Day.

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on August 20, 2015:

Hi, kalinin1158. Thanks for the visit and the comment. It is sad to see dolphins in captivity. They deserve to be free whenever this is possible.

Lana Adler from California on August 20, 2015:

I love dolphins! It's really heartbreaking to see them in captivity, even when they don't seem to be abused... Enjoyed this hub very much!

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on August 03, 2015:

It pains me too, midget38. Thank you very much for the comment.

Michelle Liew from Singapore on August 03, 2015:

You are right, Alecia. The Dolphins are extremely smart animals, and it pains me to see their populations declning. I hope man wises up.

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on July 29, 2015:

Hi, ignugent17. I hope you can visit Chester and Helen one day, too! Thanks for the comment and the votes.

ignugent17 on July 29, 2015:

Dolphins really fascinates me. I enjoyed reading about Chester and Helen. I do hope I can visit them someday. :-)

Thanks for the information,

Voted up and more.

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on July 21, 2015:

Thank you so much, Essie! I appreciate your kind comment and share a great deal. Your trips to the Channel Islands sound like they were wonderful! Seeing hundreds of dolphins would be awesome.

Essie from Southern California on July 21, 2015:


I was absolutely enthralled with the story of these marvelous dolphins. The videos were perfectly set and complimentary to your story. There is nothing that can match their natural habitat; it is extreme pleasure watching them there. We were surrounded by hundreds of them on our trips to the Channel Islands. I compliment your personal touch on this awesome article. Essie ...sharing..

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on July 14, 2015:

Thank you very much for the visit and the comment, Wendi. I think the dolphins are beautiful creatures, too!

Summer LaSalle from USA on July 14, 2015:

Absolutely beautiful creatures- what a fascinating hub!


Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on July 12, 2015:

I agree, adevwriting. Dolphins are definitely amazing and intelligent!

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on July 12, 2015:

Thank you, ologsinquito. I appreciate your comment very much.

Arun Dev from United Countries of the World on July 12, 2015:

Honestly dolphins are amazing and intelligent creatures!

ologsinquito from USA on July 11, 2015:

These dolphins are very beautiful. I hope more can be done to make Helen's life more interesting, so she's not bored and discouraged. You did this so well, with such a nice balance.

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on July 05, 2015:

I think dolphins are beautiful too, VioletteRose! Thank you very much for the comment.

VioletteRose from Atlanta on July 05, 2015:

Dolphins are really very beautiful, thanks for sharing information about the pacific white sided dolphins. I didn't know about them before, the pictures are all wonderful!

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on July 04, 2015:

Hi, Dianna. It is exciting to see dolphins. I agree - whenever possible, dolphins certainly do deserve to be in their natural habitat.

Dianna Mendez on July 04, 2015:

I remember how excited I was seeing my first dolphin at play in the Pacific Ocean. They are so intelligent. Thanks for bringing the captivity issue to awareness. They deserve to be in their natural habitat.

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on July 03, 2015:

Thank you for such a lovely comment, Nadine! I appreciate the comment and the vote very much. I will definitely be writing more about Chester and Helen as their story progresses. I'm very interested in their future.

Nadine May from Cape Town, Western Cape, South Africa on July 03, 2015:

Oh Alicia what a great article. Congratulations on reaching the 100 mark! You are the first 100 rating I have seen. Please you MUST write soon about Chester and Helen. If they like each-other and I do hope they get along. It's really sad for Helen to be on her own. Voted Up!

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on June 26, 2015:

Thank you very much for the kind comment and the votes, ChitrangadaSharan. I appreciate your visit.

Chitrangada Sharan from New Delhi, India on June 26, 2015:

Wow! What a wonderful hub.

Loved watching dolphins and whales and you presented all this so beautifully.

It is so sad to read about Hanna but Helen and Chester were a delightful watch. It is always so refreshing as well as entertaining to watch such amazing creatures. Thanks for sharing and voted up+++.

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on June 25, 2015:

Hi, Cynthia. Yes, Helen is in a very difficult situation. You are so right - we are making it very difficult for some animals to survive in their natural habitat. Helen was injured due to human activity. I hope life becomes better for her. Thank you very much for the visit and the comment.

CMHypno from Other Side of the Sun on June 25, 2015:

Thanks for another beautiful hub. Poor Helen is between a rock and a hard place - she is miserable alone in captivity and cannot safely be released. Ideally all animals should be out in the wild leading natural lives, but we humans are making that more and more difficult.

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on June 24, 2015:

Hi, Deb. Thanks for the visit. I agree that zoos are necessary for the conservation of some species and that zoos can be a great educational tool. I think it's very important that zoos and aquariums provide as natural an environment as possible for their animals, however, and that they also provide enrichment activities for the animals. Unfortunately, this doesn't always happen.

Deb Hirt from Stillwater, OK on June 24, 2015:

Zoos are necessary to keep animals like these living in a somewhat natural environment, so they can grow both physically and mentally. If it were not for zoos, the California Condor would have been extinct a long time ago. Many reputable zoos, like yours, carry on much necessary research for many animals, and it is an excellent learning tool for both scientists AND animals. I commend you zoo, as I know that they have many good people there that will make a difference in the life of the cetaceans in question, as well as many other animals.

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on June 20, 2015:

Hi, Nell. Thanks for the visit. I hope the introduction of Chester to Helen's habitat goes well, too.

Nell Rose from England on June 20, 2015:

Hi, I hope they like each other too, the dolphin left behind is probably still grieving, I hate to see them in captivity, but sometimes its the best thing for them, interesting hub Alicia, I love dolphins, so I hope it works out, nell

Kristen Howe from Northeast Ohio on June 20, 2015:

My pleasure, Alicia. I once wanted to be a marine biologist, but I failed biology lab in college, which killed that dream. I agree with you there.

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on June 20, 2015:

Thank you very much for the comment and the vote, Kristen. I love cetaceans, too. They are intelligent and fascinating animals.

Kristen Howe from Northeast Ohio on June 20, 2015:

Alicia, this was a beautiful and sad hub. I love dolphins and porpoises and would love to swim with dolphins one day. Voted up for beautiful!

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on June 20, 2015:

Thank you for the great comment, Carolyn. Factory farming is indeed abhorrent. The way in which we treat animals is sometimes atrocious. I appreciate your visit, vote and share very much.

Carolyn Emerick on June 20, 2015:

Hi Alicia, I love this article! I am very sensitive to animal rights and treatment of animals, so I applaud any attempt to emphasize their intelligence and psychological, physical, and emotional needs. It's important to emphasize, as you did, that life in captivity is often severely lacking in these areas. I only wish more people recognized that our factory farming system is even more abhorrent and horrific than other kinds of animal captivity. But recognizing that all creatures are more like us than we give them credit for is the first start to demanding better treatment of animals. Thank you for a great hub on a remarkable animal :-) Upvoted and shared!

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on June 20, 2015:

Hi, Bill. Thanks for the comment. The decision about how to care for rescued animals is important. I hope Chester provides companionship for Helen, too.

Bill De Giulio from Massachusetts on June 20, 2015:

Hi Linda. This is certainly a controversial issue. I hate seeing wild creatures confined in zoos or aquariums but if they simply cannot survive in the wild I suppose it is the only option available. How sad for Helen that her companion Hanna is no longer with her. Hopefully Chester will provide some companionship for her. Great hub.

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on June 18, 2015:

Hi, Suhail. Thank you very much for the comment! I agree with you. The only reason that cetaceans should ever be kept in captivity is because they are unreleasable, and it's very important that these animals have a large and interesting habitat.

Suhail Zubaid aka Clark Kent from Mississauga, ON on June 18, 2015:

Hi Linda,

Awesome hub! I enjoyed learning from your first hand account of this dolphin.

I really am not sure whether we should have cetaceans in our aquariums. Yes, if an animal is unreleasable then perhaps they should stay in captivity, but in very large pools.

The same goes for land based animals.

Thank you for sharing a hub that is informative, interesting, and beautiful.

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on June 18, 2015:

I agree, Mel. Dolphins and whales should never be kept in captivity just to amuse us. They are wonderful animals with advanced brains. Thanks for the comment and for sharing your experience.

Mel Carriere from Snowbound and down in Northern Colorado on June 18, 2015:

The more I think about it, it is pretty callous to keep these creatures in captivity merely for our amusement. When I was in the Navy I used to see Pacific White Sided Dolphins following our ship. Way out at sea we would get dolphins, probably of various species, that would follow our ship just to play in the wake. They are beautiful and elegant creatures, and seem to have a fondness for humanity that should not be abused or taken advantage of. Great hub!

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on June 18, 2015:

Hi, drbj. I'm interested to see how the situation is resolved, too! I'll update the hub when I know the outcome of the meeting between Helen and Chester. Thanks for the comment.

drbj and sherry from south Florida on June 18, 2015:

It will be interesting to see if the dolphin and the false killer whale tolerate each other. Your article is so interesting, Alicia, that I find myself wanting to know how this is all resolved.

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on June 18, 2015:

Thanks for the comment, Blossom. It is good that the animals are safe. I hope their lives improve, though. I hope that Helen and Chester get on, too.

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on June 18, 2015:

Hi, Jodah. I have the same concerns as you about Helen and Chester. Thanks for the visit and the vote.

Bronwen Scott-Branagan from Victoria, Australia on June 18, 2015:

It's so lovely that there are places where these beautiful animals can live in safety when they would probably die if left to fend for themselves. Helen may be lonely now, but I hope that soon she will have her new playmate and that they will get on well together.

John Hansen from Gondwana Land on June 18, 2015:

I have never seen a Pacific White Sided Dolphin before, but they are beautiful creatures. I actually found this quite sad. I certainly hope that the future is good for Helen and that her and Chester get on, but he is a different species and much younger. I feel they should be in a much bigger tankwith more dolphins than just the two though. Voted up.

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on June 17, 2015:

Hi, Flourish. Thanks for the comment. I support the exploration of birth control and sea pens, too. Something needs to be done to improve the situation.

FlourishAnyway from USA on June 17, 2015:

So well written and with great empathy. I am glad the park has made strides in not capturing them since 1996 and instead becoming more of a refuge. It doesn't seem like there's any any answer. I support sea pens and birth control for captive animals as I worry about adding to the dilemma.

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on June 17, 2015:

Thank you very much for the comment, Pollyanna. Yes, releasing a rescued animal into the wild could very well be a death sentence. I think that when we rescue animals and decide that they can't be released, we need to give them as good a life as possible. That's an area that needs to be improved in many facilities and institutions.

Pollyanna Jones from United Kingdom on June 17, 2015:

I'm not all that comfortable keeping a wide-ranging animal in such a small space, but can appreciate the need for this for a rescued or injured animal. To put it back in the wild would be a death sentence, and the efforts and care of the professionals that look after the animals in their human made homes is very touching. I very much enjoyed your article and have learned about a species I had not heard of before. Thank you! :-)

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on June 17, 2015:

Thank you, Rachel. I appreciate your comment and your votes a great deal. Blessings to you as well.

Rachel L Alba from Every Day Cooking and Baking on June 17, 2015:

Hi Alicia, I love to watch dolphins and whales. So sad about Hanna but Helen and Chester are a delight. I could have watched that first video of the dolphins swimming all day. It's so relaxing and entertaining to watch. Thanks for sharing and all the work put into this hub. I voted up, awesome and beautiful.

Blessings to you.

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on June 17, 2015:

Thanks, Larry. I'm very sorry about the loss of Hanna, too.

Larry Rankin from Oklahoma on June 17, 2015:

Great hub. I love dolphins. A shame about Hanna.

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on June 17, 2015:

Hi, Bill. Captivity of animals is certainly an unpleasant and controversial situation. Thank you for the comment.

Bill Holland from Olympia, WA on June 17, 2015:

I just don't like the whole captivity thing, Linda. I know people love zoos and aquariums, but I find them harmful and unnecessary. I guess I'm too much of an animal-person. Thanks for raising awareness...great article.

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on June 17, 2015:

Thank you very much for such a kind comment, Buildreps. I appreciate your visit!

Buildreps from Europe on June 17, 2015:

This Hub is a masterpiece, well observed and researched. I read it with great interest! Thanks.

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on June 16, 2015:

Thank you very much for the comment, votes and shares, Faith! Yes, the aquarium did try hard to save Hanna. They brought in experts in different fields to treat her. It's sad that all the efforts failed.

Blessings to you, Faith.

Faith Reaper from southern USA on June 16, 2015:

Such beautiful creatures. Thank you for taking us along to the Aquarium.

How sad about dear Hanna. It sounds like they tried everything they knew and with the best of the best helping.

I do hope the renovations finish up soon for all concerned. When you were describing the repetitive behavior, it truly made me sad for those in captivity, as it is just not natural and they should be free.

This should be HOTD. Excellent hub as always.

Up ++++ tweeting, pinning, g+ and sharing

Blessings always

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