Dolphins are one of the most loved marine animals in our seas, they are playful, friendly and inquisitive when interacting with humans. Dolphins helping people stranded at sea are often positive media stories and everyone it seems, appreciates the intelligence and playful nature of dolphins.
However, many people believe that they can just jump in the sea or swim with any dolphin they see. The dolphins you see in an aquarium or dolphinarium respond to a connection and the trust with the people they work with, even working with different trainers can cause the animal to respond differently. An animal with a good relationship with the trainer would do anything the trainer asks them to do, but this is due to the trust and the bond they have with each other. These animals are also regularly interacting with humans on a daily basis, but sometimes they are not in the mood and we trainers know that and respect it.
It is not recommended that a person just jumps into the sea and attempts to swim with the first dolphin that they see. We, as humans, tend to overlay our human characteristics and emotions on other animals and judge them by what we consider acceptable human behaviour. Do not forget they are wild animals.
Many people have interacted with a dolphin and when they did not receive the playful and welcoming reaction that they had expected, they described the dolphins as being aggressive. However, animals are entitled to react whichever way they desire, they are a living organism and as such we should expect unpredictability. We have no human right to expect behaviour based upon our beliefs, indeed what we perceive as friendly an animal may perceive as aggressive or just unwanted in their current environment.
Just like humans, dolphins can display unwanted behaviour, be in a bad mood, feel like being left alone or just playfully aggressive. Dolphins can have different personality traits and groupings (good & bad) that we must be aware of when dealing with any intelligent animal.
Dolphins are amazing animals and like all other animals, including us humans, they can have their dark side or undesirable behaviour, so understanding they are entitled as we humans are to both sides of a character, good and bad will help us all get along.
Understanding behaviour is having the knowledge to accept good and bad without prejudice, so we can learn from each other and live respectfully and more in harmony.
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