With the rise of technological advancement, we find ourselves instantly up close to answers that pique our curiosity. We have the efficient device, as the internet, to show us all aspects of the world and to perceive the interweaving dynamics of life. In the case of our animal counterparts, we never really knew how they lived. Unless we watched documentaries or if it is part of our profession or if we have the passion to understand their natural way of living, we nonetheless are left with considerate sites that display the animal kingdom, tamed to show their forms and superficial behavior in a controlled and artificially enhanced environment.
Now through reliable websites and documentaries on TV, we discover that these manmade sites, like the zoos and aquariums, are mere displays of the animals’ true nature. We see videos of them from birth, to their eating patterns, to youth, to adults courting each other in the aim of copulation, to battles with other animal species, to their behavior when seeing humans visiting their natural habitats, to their inbred relation with the environment that they have been created in, and other underlying aspects that the zoos and aquariums do not have the capacity to breed.
Take, for instance the reptiles and dolphins shows. Primarily marketed as income-generating forms of entertainment for tourists, these innocent creatures were taken away from their homes and brought to seclusion where they are subjected to scheduled training and performances as opposed to food hunting and mating, to chemical tranquilizers as opposed to their formerly tranquil abode, to semi-fresh food as opposed to live ones, to a repeated playlist of music as opposed to a hint of sound roused by other species, to hundreds of audience as opposed to a daring few, and to caged quarters as opposed to boundless domains.
The question is, are these shows that we have been accustomed to healthy for the animals?
The Reptile Charmers
Usual crocodile shows provide tricky exhibitions of crocodiles being dragged and trampled around a shallow pool by crocodile experts. Without verbalizing any educational information on their interesting subjects, these professional croc-tamers show off only their bravado and strange camaraderie with these reptiles by opening its mouth and boldly inserting their head and hands inside it. During intervals, the brave charmers switch to their pet cobras to soothe them into submission, wrapping them around their neck and also inserting their head inside its mouth.
Had these wild yet God-given creatures been left free, they would still be soaking in freshwater, slickly crawling on their webbed feet and preying on fish, birds and mammals that permeate their swampy homes.
Swim With the Dolphins
Dolphins are spectacular to watch. Seeing them jump on to the surface of the water and swimming playfully in groups is a heavenly sight to behold. It gives you a profound feeling, as if you are worthy to be their lucky audience and even as their friend.
In the Red Sea, dolphins usually permeate along the straight of Tiran, in vibrant marine areas of Ras Mohamed and in the Dolphin House Protectorate where Spinner Dolphins are often spotted leaping high up in the air, blowing bubbles, slapping their tales, snapping their jaws and jumping over boats while making soft squeaks, clicks and whistles. Commonly perceived as part of their playful and curious nature, the dolphins manifest these behaviors as forms of communication with one another, whether it is an alert to possible dangers, to food or to keeping track of others in the group.
Dolphins are considered among the most intelligent animals in the world. According to National Geographic, dolphins produce high frequency clicks called Echolocation, which tells them the shape, size, speed, distance and location of an object around them. They have a sharp vision and they can hear frequencies ten times or more than the limit of humans.
So imagine how they would feel when they are separated from their group and brought in a confined artificial pool where they are forced to follow orders that is beyond their nature. Most alarming of all is the way Bottlenose Dolphins have been reported to be captured from Taiji, Japan and brought to countries hosting dolphin shows.
In an exposé done by the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society, it was stated that Bottlenose Dolphins undergo extreme brutality from Japanese fishermen and trainers who are hired to capture them for international trade. The capturing process begin with the fishermen forcing the dolphins into the bay with a net. The dolphins panic and are dragged out of the water with ropes around their tails. The trainers then line-up the dolphins on the beach, lying down on hard sand, which results to the exertion of pressure on their internal organs. The dolphins flail around on the beach, accidentally hitting each other with their powerful tails. The trainers particularly look for young female dolphins. Mothers and babies call out in distress as they separated. While the mothers are often chosen for a life of captivity, the babies will eventually be slaughtered with the unqualified dolphins and later packed as canned tuna. The dolphins chosen for a life of captivity are moved on stretchers to cages next to the deafening roar of motor boats.
It needs to be underscored that animals, however dangerous they could be are like humans that deserve freedom to live according to their birthright. Over time these forces of nature that are held in captivity can backfire on their homo sapient hosts and audience, as it has already happened, and in most cases perish to death.
Animals, like us, are created uniquely. The thing that makes us more superior to them is the ability to think intelligently and to act accordingly with respect to the rest of God’s creations. Therefore it makes sense to let animals be the way they are the way we want ourselves to be: free, healthy and alive.