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Pacific White-Sided Dolphins - Wild, Rescued and Captive

Updated on July 12, 2015
AliciaC profile image

Linda Crampton is a teacher with an honours degree in biology. She loves to study nature and write about animals and plants.

This is Spinnaker. He was a rescued Pacific white-sided dolphin that until quite recently lived at the Vancouver Aquarium.
This is Spinnaker. He was a rescued Pacific white-sided dolphin that until quite recently lived at the Vancouver Aquarium. | Source

Pacific white-sided dolphins are intelligent, playful and very social animals. They live in large groups and often approach boats. They are attractive dolphins that are fascinating to observe in the wild. Unfortunately, they are also kept in captivity in aquariums and marine parks. Sometimes this is necessary because an 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 article tells the story of both the wild dolphins and the two rescued Pacific white-sided dolphins at the Vancouver Aquarium in British Columbia. Helen and Hanna were deemed unreleasable and lived together at the aquarium for ten years. Recently, a sudden and tragic illness claimed the life of Hanna, despite some very impressive attempts to keep her alive. Helen currently swims in her tank alone, but she may soon have company. Chester is a rescued false killer whale calf who has also been deemed unreleasable. He and Helen will soon be introduced.

A Pacific white-sided dolphin at the Vancouver Aquarium with a very interested look in her eye
A Pacific white-sided dolphin at the Vancouver Aquarium with a very interested look in her eye | Source

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.

The Pacific White-Sided Dolphin - 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 dolphin 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 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.

Pacific White-Sided Dolphins Swimming Beside a Boat

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, Pacific white-sided dolphins 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 dolphin has its own signature whistle.

The 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, its shape, density and speed and its distance.

Pacific white-sided dolphins reach sexual maturity between the ages of seven and ten. The gestation period is twelve months. Females don't give birth every year. There seems to be a three or four year interval between births.

Pacific White-Sided Dolphins Swimming Underwater

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 other facilities that house marine mammals, the aquarium periodically faces 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 no longer captures wild cetaceans. Any cetaceans that it does accept are either rescued animals that lack the skills to survive in the wild or animals born in other facilities. Some of the rescued animals come from the aquarium's own 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 several of these deaths 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
The entrance to the Vancouver Aquarium | Source

Spinnaker, Helen and Hanna at the Vancouver Aquarium

Spinnaker, Hanna and Helen lived together at the Vancouver Aquarium. According to the aquarium, all three dolphins were rescued after becoming entangled in Japanese 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 dolphins are caught for food and trapped for dolphinaria. The aquarium adamantly denies that this is true.

Spinnaker, the only male in the group, died in 2012 after a lengthy illness. He was about twenty-five when he died. Hanna lived to be twenty-one years old. Helen is currently twenty-seven. The maximum lifespan of Pacific white-sided dolphins is somewhere in the forties.

Helen and Hanna performed in shows, as shown in the video below. Like the aquarium's policy on obtaining animals, the cetacean shows have evolved over the years. The animals no longer perform showy and unnatural tricks. The behaviours that they do exhibit during a show are ones that they perform in the wild.

Helen alone in a holding pool after Hanna's death; the pool is connected to a larger and deeper tank, as can be seen in the video below.
Helen alone in a holding pool after Hanna's death; the pool is connected to a larger and deeper tank, as can be seen in the video below. | Source

Dolphin Show - Helen and Hanna Perform

Hanna's Illness and Death

On Monday, May 18th, 2015, staff members noticed that Hanna 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 Hanna'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 Hanna's life was to perform the world's first intestinal surgery on a Pacific white-sided dolphin under general anesthesia.

Against all odds, Hanna survived the surgery, which was performed on Thursday evening. 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 Hanna's problem is believed to be a common, non-infectious bacterium. Test results may confirm this suspicion. I hope the aquarium is able to determine how Hanna's illness arose and that something can be learned from her death. Helen has shown no signs of the illness.

Aquarium staff talk to Helen after Hanna's death
Aquarium staff talk to Helen after Hanna's death | Source

Helen's Life at the Aquarium

I recently 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 found the YouTube video below showing this same behaviour taking place while Hanna was still alive and while the dolphins were performing shows. The video was posted a year ago. Both dolphins were in the small pool, even though the big tank was available to them. I find it so sad that even then - and probably long before - the dolphins were indicating that they were bored.

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. However, I think that much more needs to be done to support the cetaceans that live there. They need to have more space, more enrichment with respect to activities and a better life.

Stereotypical Behaviour in Pacific White-Sided Dolphins

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 the Vancouver Aquarium's cetacean population.

Attrition: Some people have suggested that the aquarium'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 have a miserable existence, since they would have no company. Cetaceans are social animals.

Transfer: Another suggestion has been to transfer whales and dolphins to larger facilities which have more animals. This would solve the problem of the unhappy lives of the last Vancouver animals left by attrition. One possible problem is that in larger captive populations more breeding would occur, potentially increasing the size of the captive population. Still, the transfer could improve the lives of the Vancouver Aquarium cetaceans.

Enhanced Habitat: The aquarium's current cetacean habitats could be expanded and enhanced. Getting permission to expand further into Stanley Park - a major and much loved tourist attraction - is always difficult, however. In addition, some people worry that if the aquarium expands it will obtain more cetaceans. This is another controversial topic. From one perspective, obtaining more Pacific white-sided dolphins would be good, since it would create a more natural community for Helen. (Providing a suitable community for Chester could be an additional problem.) The dolphins would need much more space to enable them to live a reasonably happy life, however.

Rehabilitation: It's been proposed that the cetaceans presently at the aquarium be released into the wild. This is not really 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 does rehabilitate 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 a 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.

A false killer whale at SeaWorld Orlando; the theme park's last false killer whale died in 2012
A false killer whale at SeaWorld Orlando; the theme park's last false killer whale died in 2012 | Source

Chester the False Killer Whale Calf

In July 2014, the aquarium's Marine Mammal Rescue Centre rescued a young false killer whale. He was stranded in shallow water on Chesterman Beach in Tofino, Vancouver Island, and has since been named Chester. Chester was only four to six weeks old when he was found. He was injured, in distress and abandoned. After receiving intensive care, he has recovered well. However, he lacks important survival skills that he would normally have learned from his mother and other members of his species.

The scientific name of the false killer whale is Pseudorca crassidens. The animal has a wide distribution in both temperate and tropical regions. Despite this fact, little is known about its life in the wild.

A close-up view of a false killer whale's face
A close-up view of a false killer whale's face | Source

Chester and Helen's Future

Fisheries and Oceans Canada (a government organization) investigated Chester's situation. They declared that he was unreleasable due to his lack of skills. The aquarium says that false killer whales and Pacific white-sided dolphins have lived together successfully in other facilities. They plan to place Chester in Helen's habitat. Each animal would then have company. In addition, Chester would have a bigger swimming area than he currently has in the aquarium's research facility.

The plan to house Chester and Helen together sounds good in theory. There are a number of questions to be answered, though. First, we need to know if the two animals will accept each other's presence in the same habitat. Secondly, we need to discover whether they have enough in common to become good companions instead of remaining simply two animals that tolerate each other. They are after all different species with different behaviours.

There are other problems that concern me. False killer whales are not as bulky as killer whales, or Orcas, but they are considerably larger than Pacific white-sided dolphins. I wonder whether the tank will be big enough for the two animals, especially as Chester grows in size. There will be enough physical space for them, but whether there will be enough space for the animals to have a good life and enough things for them to do is another question. In addition, Helen will still have only one companion. Two animals is nowhere near a big enough community for a Pacific white-sided dolphin.

The habitat is currently being modified for Chester's arrival. The aquarium says that Chester is now a "rambunctious young male learning his boundaries". In order to keep him safe, aquarium staff are adding mesh and padding to the habitat. I'll visit the aquarium again when Chester arrives at the habitat to see how things are going.

Pacific white-sided dolphins in the wild
Pacific white-sided dolphins in the wild | Source

A Better Life for Helen

It's sad to see Helen on her own. Aquarium staff members did come to talk to Helen on my last visit to the aquarium, which she seemed to appreciate, but they didn't stay with her. Helen isn't being ignored, but she needs a full-time cetacean companion instead of part-time human ones.

Pacific-white sided dolphins form close knit groups in the wild. Helen lived with Hanna for a long time. She is almost certainly missing her companion. The fact that her habitat is being altered to accommodate Chester is probably adding to her stress.

As some people have said, it's impossible for even the best aquarium or marine park to give animals like the Pacific white-sided dolphin a truly natural life. In the wild, the 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.

The sooner the habitat alterations are finished the better. I hope very much that Chester and Helen accept each other's presence. I also hope that I will soon be able to update this article with the news that both Helen and Chester seem to like their new companion. This may not be the end of the story, though. The problem of providing Helen with a more interesting life will probably still exist, as will the need for enough space for a growing false killer whale and a Pacific white-sided dolphin.

Update - Chester in his New Home

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

Update July 2015

The changes to the habitat have now been finished. Chester was recently placed in the habitat and introduced to Helen. Based on my observations made during an afternoon visit to the aquarium, the two animals seem to be accepting each other's presence with no problem. They came very close together when being fed but not when they were left on their own. They are still getting to know each other, though. One of the aquarium staff said that the relationship between the two cetaceans is changing daily. It's an exciting time.

I was very happy to see that even when Helen voluntarily stayed 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 is being treated with care. 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.

A close-up photo of Helen underwater showing her partially amputated pectoral fins or flippers.
A close-up photo of Helen underwater showing her partially amputated pectoral fins or flippers. | Source

Performance Time

Helen gave a short and simplified performance during my July visit. The performance was based on her natural behaviours, as mentioned above. Her enthusiastic jumps into the air were especially popular. Chester already follows 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.

I'll be watching the progress of Chester and Helen with great interest. Hopefully they will eventually become good companions, even though they belong to different species. The early signs are good. Time will tell whether a friendship is possible between the two animals.

© 2015 Linda Crampton

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    • Faith Reaper profile image

      Faith Reaper 19 months ago from southern USA

      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

    • AliciaC profile image
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      Linda Crampton 19 months ago from British Columbia, Canada

      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.

    • Buildreps profile image

      Buildreps 19 months ago from Europe

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

    • AliciaC profile image
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      Linda Crampton 19 months ago from British Columbia, Canada

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

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 19 months ago from Olympia, WA

      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.

    • AliciaC profile image
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      Linda Crampton 19 months ago from British Columbia, Canada

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

    • Larry Rankin profile image

      Larry Rankin 19 months ago from Oklahoma

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

    • AliciaC profile image
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      Linda Crampton 19 months ago from British Columbia, Canada

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

    • Rachel L Alba profile image

      Rachel L Alba 19 months ago from Every Day Cooking and Baking

      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.

    • AliciaC profile image
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      Linda Crampton 19 months ago from British Columbia, Canada

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

    • Pollyanna Jones profile image

      Pollyanna Jones 19 months ago from United Kingdom

      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! :-)

    • AliciaC profile image
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      Linda Crampton 19 months ago from British Columbia, Canada

      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.

    • FlourishAnyway profile image

      FlourishAnyway 19 months ago from USA

      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.

    • AliciaC profile image
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      Linda Crampton 19 months ago from British Columbia, Canada

      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.

    • Jodah profile image

      John Hansen 19 months ago from Queensland Australia

      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.

    • BlossomSB profile image

      Bronwen Scott-Branagan 19 months ago from Victoria, Australia

      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.

    • AliciaC profile image
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      Linda Crampton 19 months ago from British Columbia, Canada

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

    • AliciaC profile image
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      Linda Crampton 19 months ago from British Columbia, Canada

      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.

    • drbj profile image

      drbj and sherry 19 months ago from south Florida

      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.

    • AliciaC profile image
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      Linda Crampton 19 months ago from British Columbia, Canada

      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.

    • Mel Carriere profile image

      Mel Carriere 19 months ago from San Diego California

      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!

    • AliciaC profile image
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      Linda Crampton 19 months ago from British Columbia, Canada

      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.

    • Suhail and my dog profile image

      Suhail Zubaid aka Clark Kent 19 months ago from Mississauga, ON

      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.

    • AliciaC profile image
      Author

      Linda Crampton 19 months ago from British Columbia, Canada

      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.

    • bdegiulio profile image

      Bill De Giulio 19 months ago from Massachusetts

      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.

    • AliciaC profile image
      Author

      Linda Crampton 19 months ago from British Columbia, Canada

      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.

    • CarolynEmerick profile image

      Carolyn Emerick 19 months ago

      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!

    • AliciaC profile image
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      Linda Crampton 19 months ago from British Columbia, Canada

      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.

    • Kristen Howe profile image

      Kristen Howe 19 months ago from Northeast Ohio

      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!

    • AliciaC profile image
      Author

      Linda Crampton 19 months ago from British Columbia, Canada

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

    • Kristen Howe profile image

      Kristen Howe 19 months ago from Northeast Ohio

      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.

    • Nell Rose profile image

      Nell Rose 19 months ago from England

      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

    • AliciaC profile image
      Author

      Linda Crampton 19 months ago from British Columbia, Canada

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

    • aviannovice profile image

      Deb Hirt 19 months ago from Stillwater, OK

      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.

    • AliciaC profile image
      Author

      Linda Crampton 19 months ago from British Columbia, Canada

      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.

    • CMHypno profile image

      CMHypno 19 months ago from Other Side of the Sun

      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.

    • AliciaC profile image
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      Linda Crampton 19 months ago from British Columbia, Canada

      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.

    • ChitrangadaSharan profile image

      Chitrangada Sharan 19 months ago from New Delhi, India

      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+++.

    • AliciaC profile image
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      Linda Crampton 19 months ago from British Columbia, Canada

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

    • Nadine May profile image

      Nadine May 19 months ago from Cape Town, Western Cape, South Africa

      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!

    • AliciaC profile image
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      Linda Crampton 19 months ago from British Columbia, Canada

      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.

    • teaches12345 profile image

      Dianna Mendez 18 months ago

      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.

    • AliciaC profile image
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      Linda Crampton 18 months ago from British Columbia, Canada

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

    • VioletteRose profile image

      VioletteRose 18 months ago from Chicago

      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!

    • AliciaC profile image
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      Linda Crampton 18 months ago from British Columbia, Canada

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

    • ologsinquito profile image

      ologsinquito 18 months ago from USA

      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.

    • adevwriting profile image

      Arun Dev 18 months ago from United Countries of the World

      Honestly dolphins are amazing and intelligent creatures!

    • AliciaC profile image
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      Linda Crampton 18 months ago from British Columbia, Canada

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

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      Linda Crampton 18 months ago from British Columbia, Canada

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

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      Wendi Pembridge Skilling 18 months ago from Overland Park, KS

      Absolutely beautiful creatures- what a fascinating hub!

      -Wendi

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      Linda Crampton 18 months ago from British Columbia, Canada

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

    • EsJam profile image

      Essie 18 months ago from Southern California

      Alicia,

      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..

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      Linda Crampton 18 months ago from British Columbia, Canada

      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.

    • ignugent17 18 months ago

      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.

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      Linda Crampton 18 months ago from British Columbia, Canada

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

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      Michelle Liew 17 months ago from Singapore

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

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      Linda Crampton 17 months ago from British Columbia, Canada

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

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      Lana Zakinov 17 months ago from California

      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!

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      Linda Crampton 17 months ago from British Columbia, Canada

      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.

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      Peg Cole 15 months ago from Dallas, Texas

      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.

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      Linda Crampton 15 months ago from British Columbia, Canada

      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.

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      Peggy Woods 9 months ago from Houston, Texas

      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.

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      Linda Crampton 9 months ago from British Columbia, Canada

      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!

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      Vladimir Karas 6 months ago from Canada

      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.

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      Linda Crampton 6 months ago from British Columbia, Canada

      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.

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