Category Archives: Dolphins

Education about the true nature of dolphin captivity and hunting. Drive hunts. Taiji Japan. Dolphin shows. Georgia Aquarium. SeaWorld

SeaWorld spearheads this meeting of the “I need a dolphin or whale” club

First go round, it was the Georgia Aquarium (on behalf of not only itself but also SeaWorld, the Shedd Aquarium and Mystic Aquarium) that said that it needed to import beluga whales from outside the United States.  Now SeaWorld is spearheading the effort, having set its sights on obtaining dolphins, more specifically, on an unnamed female Pacific Whitesided Dolphin, now being held captive at an aquarium in Japan.  The proposal is to tear her from her captive surroundings, from the dolphins that she has come to know, and to “ship” her as so much cargo halfway around the world to be put into another tank with strangers.

When is the welfare of the dolphin ever considered?  But I digress.

Pacific Whitesided dolphins where and with whom they belong: in the Pacific Ocean with their family

Pacific Whitesided dolphins where and with whom they belong: in the Pacific Ocean with their family. Photo Credit: Kenai Fjords National Park, Alaska

And we, the public, have an opportunity to give our input, to submit our comments, objections and questions on the permit application.  Comments must be submitted by March 6 to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) on the SeaWorld San Antonio application to import a female Japanese Pacific Whitesided dolphin.

At least based upon the readily-accessible information, there appear to be many unknowns. Without more information, it appears that this import permit application is either

  • not giving the public a meaningful opportunity to review and provide input; or
  • >is, itself, incomplete.

So, first, request all the additional information that NOAA is relying upon in its evaluation of the permit application.  Then raise meaningful questions in your comments, such as:

  • Who is the specific dolphin that SeaWorld intends to import? While there may be others who believe that they can piece it together to make a reasoned guess as to her identity, that burden in not on the public.  SeaWorld and NOAA share that one, with the ultimate burden falling on SeaWorld for the content of its application and the conclusions drawn from evaluating that application on NOAA.
  • Where is the birth record and the names of those to interview to verify that she (assuming they already have an individual in mind) is, in fact, captive-bred, as asserted in the application, and a record of the interviews conducted and by whom?
  • Failing the availability of a record that includes those interviews, on what basis will NOAA evaluate whether and agree that the unnamed female dolphin was captive-bred.  NOAA  must, via this record, eliminate the real potential (given the holding aquarium’s current ownership of wild-caught dolphins) for a wild-caught dolphin to be unlawfully imported into the United States without making all the necessary threshold determinations.
  • Failing a substantiation that the dolphin is not wild-caught, if it may then be presumed to be wild-caught (or they would surely have the records and interviews in the record), demonstrate that the dolphin was not caught in a hunt that has been recognized as inhumane, opposed by even by the International Marine Animal Trainers Association.

This should get you started.  In your comments, request a public hearing, or there won’t be one.

Shine as much sunlight on this as possible.

TO SUBMIT COMMENTS/QUESTIONS:
Via Email: NMFS.Pr1Comments@noaa.gov
Via Fax: (301) 713-0376

TO REQUEST ADDITIONAL INFORMATION: CONTACT: Jennifer Skidmore or Kristy Beard: (301)427-8401.

Captive Pacific Whitesided dolphin

Captive Pacific Whitesided dolphin

The Georgia Aquarium wants 18 more beluga whales

The Georgia Aquarium wants 18 more beluga whales, but someone doesn’t want you to know about it.  At least not yet.  Or maybe it’s just one of those computer glitches that I don’t even pretend to understand.

A Google search earlier today regarding the Georgia Aquarium and beluga whales revealed the following links and more:

Georgia Aquarium want to import 18 beluga whales

Seek and ye shall find on Google.

See that one, pretty much right at the top of the bottom third of the page, the one entitled, “Georgia Aquarium plans to bring more belugas into the country.”  Well, when you clicked it, it took you here.

Georgia Aquarium want to import 18 beluga whales

Unless it’s a page that has been taken down since it went to the search engines

Page could not be found.  Well, crap.  That’s a mystery.  The link indicates that, mere days after the Georgia Aquarium saw the death of Maris’ five-day-old beluga whale calf, it is announcing the plan to get more belugas.  That is, to bring them into the country.

Well, not really announcing.  More like, announcing and then unannouncing.  Or accidental press releasing.  Or something.  I don’t pretend to understand.

Oops, is all I’ll say.  I didn’t realize that catching and bringing beluga whales into the United States was, well, allowed.

And I’m thinking somebody hit the “Publish” button instead of the “File Save” button before they could submit it for editing.

Did I say, “Ooooops.”

Dang.  Woulda loved to have read that story.

Oh, wait.  I can.  I did.  And so shall you, thanks to the computer sleuthing skills that I wished I had.  Can I just say, Deep Throat.  Or Smoking Man?

Here, via the awesomeness of a really smart individual and Google cache, or some such, is the rest of the story.  This time, I’m not ruining it for you.  Yet.

Georgia Aquarium Plans to Bring More Belugas Into the Country

But, geez.  Is that legal?  I’m not saying it.  But you’re thinking it.  I suspect that, strictly speaking, it may be.

But is it right?  The time is now to stop this silly make-up-a-story-to-get-more-highly intelligent-beings-into-captivity business.  Yes, business.

When you read the article, they might have almost convinced you that they’re doing this for the belugas.  But you’re smarter than that.

Georgia Aquarium wants to import 18 beluga whales

“Georgia Aquarium plans to bring more belugas into the country.” Into the country. Into the country.

 

Which part of Marineland’s past is it celebrating, AJC?

Not surprisingly, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution has done yet another “news” report which should be in an “I love to swim with dolphins because they’re cuuuuuuuute” blog or on a newspaper’s Opinion page.  But instead, the AJC markets a story that the Georgia Aquarium wants you to believe.  Because the AJC, as some in Atlanta, including Gay Pride, are having a love affair with domination, control and ownership.

Nellie the world's oldest dolphin in captivity

Nellie, at 59 years old, born in captivity on February 27, 1953, is an anomaly in the captive dolphin industry due to her longevity.  She has seen a lot of dolphins die.

If it’s history we’re talking, here’s a history that the AJC, Marineland and the Georgia Aquarium (which owns Marineland) don’t publicize.  And because record-keeping in the marine mammal captivity industry, as well as the various government agencies that have been tasked with maintaining a marine mammal inventory, haven’t done a stellar job, the statistics are a bit like the tip of the iceberg.

On the basis of the best information we have, compiled by Ceta-base, here is part of Marineland’s history that the AJC didn’t bother telling you, or likely even researching.

                       Species                                             Number Died at Marineland

  • Beaked Whale  (all species)                                           4
  • Bottlenose Dolphin (Tursiops spp)                          149
  • Common Dolphin (Delphinus spp)                               1
  • Pilot Whale, short-finned (Glob. macro.)                  23
  • Risso’s Dolphin (Grampus griseus)                             2
  • Amazon River Dolphin (Inia geof.)                              8
  • Sperm Whale (dwarf & pygmy)                                    16
  • Spotted Dolphin (Atlantic & Pantropical)                  11
  • Striped Dolphin  (Stenella coer.)                                   1
  • White-sided Dolphin, Pacific (Lagen. obliq.)              2

And while Marineland has been doing some celebrating over time, I’m afraid that some of their celebrations have been short-lived.  There was the news report in the March 4, 1954, Sarasota Herald-Tribune, of Marineland (more honestly called Marine Studios in those days) having bred the first dolphin – or porpoise as both Marineland and the newspaper incorrectly identified her – to have been born to a captive-bred dolphin.  That is, both the mother dolphin named Spray, born on February 26, 1947, and the baby named Peggy were born in captivity.  That didn’t turn out well for baby Peggy.  She didn’t survive the year.  We’re not sure how long she lived.  We also know only that Spray also died, but not when.  Hopefully, Marineland knows.

Before she died, Spray had what appears to be at least five calves.  All appear to be dead.  How many of you mothers can make that claim?  Obviously, you wouldn’t want to.  But Spray had no choice.

Or maybe we can recall the newspaper article where Marineland celebrated the live capture, on January 9, 1964, of a pregnant dolphin.  It would appear that neither the baby nor the mother lived to see 1965.

In a world where one sees these dolphins as fungible property, or props for a dance party, well, these statistics or these examples may lose the sting that they merit.  In that world-view, you lose one, you get another just after you put on your sad face.  And get a newspaper to write another piece celebrating something.

But, in fairness, Marineland has learned a few things over its history.  I will grant them that.  They learned that a dolphin is not the same as a porpoise, or at least I think they learned that.  They also learned to be less than honest in describing what they do with the dolphins.  They used to come out and say that what they do is teach them tricks.  Tricks.  Jumping and splashing on command.  Various tricks.  Now, they like to tell you, oh, they reaaalllly like to tell you, especially during the trick show, that they only teach “behaviors”.  Balderdash.

They got it right the first time.

When folks stop supporting this horrid history by pledging to not go to the dolphin show, that will truly be something to celebrate.

Dolphins swimming free as they should be

Celebrate dolphins swimming free as they should be by not ever going to a dolphin show or swim-with.

Let’s compare two recent baby beluga stories

Beluga Whale Maris and Baby at the Georgia Aquarium

Maris and calf at the Georgia Aquarium, unattributed photo from Georgia Aquarium Facebook page

 

 

 

 

 

 

Two recent news stories.  Both involved beluga whale calves.  The first involved the birth and premature death of a calf born to Maris, a beluga whale who arrived at the Georgia Aquarium in 2005.

I have heard that the baby beluga was a full forty pounds underweight at birth.  Born underweight, not healthy.  Lived only five days.

Baby beluga whale, now at the Alaska Sea Life Center

Baby beluga whale rescued – can’t she be kept in a sea pen? Photo by Associated Press.

The second story involves a different baby beluga whale.  A baby beluga born in the wild.  And even though she was separated from her mother and cannot survive without nursing, this baby seems to be doing better than Maris’ baby.  Even with all those experts and blood samples taken from Maris’ baby.  But that’s another post for another day.

This second baby beluga whale was found in Alaska’s Bristol Bay, separated from its mother, perhaps in a storm.  A baby beluga whale nurses from the time it is born until it is approximately two years old.  But this baby beluga, at only two to three days old, somehow survived separation, however brief, from its mother.  And even being separated from its mother, this baby was healthier than the one born to Maris, in captivity.

Now, you may be thinking that it’s not fair to draw far-reaching conclusions based on two examples, where there are many variables, far more than any of us knows.  And I think you’d be right.

But I’m not drawing any conclusions based on these two examples.  I’m just relaying two stories.  I already know that captivity is inherently cruel, that captivity of these sentient creatures, even in a habitat larger than the far-too-small one at the Georgia Aquarium, is wrong.

I’m also sending out a plea to those in control of the wild baby beluga to put on your thinking caps to find ways to help the chances of her being released.

But two stories.  One of a little calf born to captivity that didn’t have much of a future.  But who died before she could live out that destiny.  The other of another calf, now destined for a lifetime of captivity.  Unless someone gives him access to the ocean, tries to find the little wild one’s mother and family now now now, cares for him in a sea pen where he can retain some ability, however slight, to communicate, he will end up, like Maris, being seen as someone’s broodmare or, like Beethoven, Maris’ deceased calf’s father, a stud.

Please, captivity industry.  Do better for this little rescued butterball than keeping him in a landlocked concrete box where it is less likely that he will be found to be releaseable.  Keep him in a sea pen near where he was found.  Listen for his family.  Let him try to communicate with them.

Thank you to all the workers and volunteers who work for these animals, trying to save them and restore them to freedom.

Baby beluga at Georgia Aquarium dies – despite Maris’ having “stood up to her end of the bargain”

I am almost speechless. So I’ll be brief.

Beluga Whale Maris and Baby at the Georgia Aquarium

Maris and “her end of the bargain” at the Georgia Aquarium, unattributed photo from Georgia Aquarium facebook page

Georgia Aquarium’s official statement, as quoted in the Atlanta Journal & Constitution, notes that the baby beluga whale, born on May 18, 2012, in the Georgia Aquarium, died today, despite Maris having “stood up to her end of the bargain.”

What bargain was that, Georgia Aquarium?

I’m just curious as hell. What was Maris’ bargain with you?

I have to say it again: Billy Hurley, Chief Zoological Officer at the Georgia Aquarium, said today, when interviewed about the death at the Georgia Aquarium of the baby beluga whale, “Maris stood up to her end of the bargain…”

The crassness of that statement – while not truly surprising, since Mr. Hurley doesn’t know the difference between dolphins, on the one hand, and dogs or horses, on the other – crossed the line.

What line is that?

It’s the line that reveals that the people who are entrusted with the care of these highly intelligent and sentient beings are incapable of appreciating this intelligence and sentience. It’s the line that reveals that the Georgia Aquarium views its dolphins, beluga whales and whale sharks as merely assets to grow a bottom line. It’s the line that reveals the aquariums’ willingness to tell only part of the story to preserve that “asset”. It’s the line that reveals the call for an immediate rehabilitation and release of these creatures to their god-given life in the wild.

If you had any doubt about these issues before, I trust that Mr. Hurley’s revealing comment got through to you and that you will sign a petition, sponsored by the Born Free Foundation, to end captivity for whales and dolphins.

So, to Mr. Hurley. Back to that bargain that you struck with Maris, what did you promise in return? Another chance to reproduce a baby that would either live its life in captivity, or die as your organization predicted it would? More captivity? Or did you promise something more lofty, like, you would continue to feed her in a small tank of salitified chlorinated artificially-cooled water?

That must be comforting to Maris, in this time of a mother’s grief.

I know, you and I are on the other side of that line, so I could stop there. But then Mr. Hurley said, after complimenting Maris on holding up her end of the bargain, “We will not give up.” Another question, Mr. Hurley. Not give up on what? Having Maris impregnated again, when you know the odds are against the baby’s, or babies’, survival?

Just sign the Born Free Foundation petition to end whale and dolphin captivity. You know he’s wrong.

Georgia Aquarium baby beluga – stable says the news

The last thing I read last night as I prepared to log out and turn off was an article by Save Misty the Dolphin published last year, Swimming in Sorrow: The Story Behind the Captive Breeding Program of Dolphins in the U.S.  It is an awesome article, and I can add nothing to it.

I’ll intro it by saying that, for those who have never considered the trauma to marine mammal mothers of the separation of their children, well, it’s time you did.  Or in the case of Maris, one of the most sentient beings on the planet, the trauma of giving birth in captivity.  And being self-aware, the recognition beyond “instinct” that her baby is in danger.  It is also reasonable that this self-aware being knows that if her baby lives, she will live in the same conditions known to Maris, however that knowledge occurs for her.  But, rest assured, occurring for her is an awareness of her and her baby’s situation beyond what any of us currently comprehend.

Maris and baby girl calf shortly after her birth, Georgia Aquarium, condition unknown

Maris and baby girl calf - motherhood is not something to be accomplished in a "program"

This article is helpful equally for those who consider Maris, who gave birth last Friday to a baby girl calf, as “just” an animal as well as for those who know that motherhood in any species is not something to be accomplished in a “program”.

Maris’ baby is, according the most recently online-available press, stable, but which the most current press release by the Georgia Aquarium was issued yesterday while the calf was in critical condition.

Here,the piece from Save Misty the Dolphin, describes some perhaps little-known facts about mortality among dolphin captive birth.  Because beluga birth mortality is even worse than in dolphins, the captive beluga breeding program is especially egregious.

Hang on, baby.  Freedom awaits you, your mother, and the others.

Baby beluga at Georgia Aquarium – in critical condition

Maris and calf at Georgia Aquarium

From Georgia Aquarium FaceBook page, uncredited

As horrific as the birth of a beluga to captivity is, the Atlanta Journal & Constitution manages to add insult to injury by making a baby bib crack in its opening line.  You know, the line that is supposed to capture the essential facts of the story.  But the insensitivity of the AJC is no real surprise here.  The AJC has been relentless in its support of the aquarium.  Although before the aquarium opened, it did have one pro-con piece, since then, it’s just been one long promotional campaign.

Maris Georgia Aquarium beluga whale

Maris, beluga whale born July 28, 1994, in captivity

The Georgia Aquarium began months ago preparing us for the death of the unborn beluga that Maris was carrying, by pointing out the factual statistic that about half of the belugas born in captivity die as infants.

So why does the Georgia Aquarium continue this larcenous breeding program?  Why not rehabilitate the belugas and dolphins for a life in the wild and release them?

Why?  Because they want to keep charging you money to have parties with Maris, Beethoven et al. in the window on the other side of your wedding reception, your corporate Christmas party, as well as the tours through the

Beethoven beluga whale Georgia Aquarium

Beethoven, beluga whale, born August 8, 1992, in captivity

exhibit, and the new “encounters” with the belugas.  And since they are not allowed to intentionally capture them just to let your rather shallow-if-romantic son propose to his soon-to-be affianced in front of the beluga tank, they have to breed them in captivity.

Hold on, young one.  Hopefully we can in the not-too-distant future secure your release with your mother and father.

In the meantime, we’ll tell the AJC that humor about the possible death of a newborn baby beluga whale is in bad taste, even for them.

For more information, there’s the enemy to dolphin and whale freedom’s blog.  They may be the enemy, but they are also the horse’s mouth.

What the Aquariums taught you while you weren’t looking

With the awesome release of Misha and Tom to the wild, due to the most absolutely awesome work by the Born Free Foundation [jumping up and down and laughing and crying and screaming and clapping. . .], I found myself reflecting on how it could possibly be that everyone wouldn’t celebrate their release and the news of Tom’s and Misha’s having outdistanced the tracking boats

– CAN YOU FREAKING IMAGINE THAT???? –

– OUT-DISTANCED THE FREAKING TRACKING BOATS!!!! –

within a very short time, as they literally sped toward their home waters [freaking painful facial smile muscles], with the jumping and clapping, if not the squealing and face-cramping.

Seriously, or not seriously.  Picture this.  These two free dolphins, having been held in captivity for years, are now swimming their asses off, on their own volition, to get home.  No one is pulling them.  No one is prodding them with dead fish.  No one told them where to go and gave them a map.  No one could tell them where to go.  We don’t know how to do that.  They knew and they freaking went!!!

So in this celebratory time, I was remembering a post I wrote a few months ago about the fact that aquariums, like the Georgia Aquarium, teach your kids that humans “owning” dolphins is okay.

Yep, they literally teach your kids – and you and us all – that wanting to own a dolphin is okay.

I’m gonna repeat a little.  Again, consider ownership of dolphins in the context of the release of Misha and Tom.  How did it happen that we thought it was okay that these two dolphins who are now swimming madly for home should be held in captivity?  How did the concept that it was okay to own them come to us?

Well, I say, we were taught.  Not by our parents.  Not by our schools.

You and I weren’t born “knowing” that it was okay to own a dolphin.  None of us were.  None of us thought much about dolphins at all, until we gained access to nature via a pair of nature-show-freak parents, or cool nature-book-reading parents, or unless we grew up with access to a shoreline and parents who would take us where dolphins can be seen.

Those shows, books and shorelines surely didn’t teach us that dolphin captivity was okay.  Or ownership of them.  We were not taught about dolphin captivity and ownership other than by the very institutions that stand to benefit financially if we believe that story.  We were taught by The Georgia Aquariums of this world.  The SeaWorlds.  And more recently, Mattel and Playmobil – no strangers to forming young minds – joined the cartel.  We were taught, in kindler and gentler terms, that ripping an animal out of its natural habitat just because you want to is okay.  Okay.  Okay to own another intelligent, independent being.  To assume full control and domination over their very survival.  And we didn’t even notice that they were teaching us that.

They have distorted what you and I collectively consider acceptable treatment of wild marine creatures.

Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain

Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain, manipulating your views about dolphin captivity

And we didn’t even notice.  We didn’t notice that we were learning this warped keeping-of-dolphins-in-small-concrete-tanks-is-acceptable lesson.  The lesson that obscured that it is an abhorrent manipulation of both nature and how we perceive nature.  Geez.  That was pretty slick.

So, let’s just track back through this:  those folks managed to rip dolphins out of their native habitat and have taught us to think that it is FOR ONE SECOND okay.  And they managed to get you to pay to see these beings who were ripped from their natural home and their natural community and family structures.

Without your catching on.  Wow.  Pretttttty slick.

Well, now you’ve thought.  You’ve caught the distorters in the act.

You have seen Misha and Tom, swimming free, racing home, without our “help”.  Look at the picture of Tom catching a fish in the wild for the first time in years [more squeals and shrieks], as noted in the article.  Know that all dolphins deserve to have freedom restored to them, like Tom and Misha.  All of them deserve to go home.

Clap and pledge never to go to the dolphin show.  And never again think that healthy dolphins can’t be rehabilitated for their very own trip home.

Cheers to the Born Free Foundation, Jeff Foster (who “trained” Tom and Misha to catch their own food again) and everyone involved in the effort.

 

Shaka: Wild-caught and housed at the Georgia Aquarium

Shaka Georgia Aquarium phinventory

Shaka, wild-caught, approximately 27 years old

Shaka was wild-caught.

On May 27, 1988, she ceased living with her pod, and became M88-F1, aka NOA0003745, and the hope of a captive dolphin breeding program for Dolphin Quest and other dolphin display, show and encounter organizations, like the Georgia Aquarium, where she is housed today.

She arrived at either Dolphin Quest Bermuda or Dolphin Quest Hawaii on August 20, 1988.  Where was she for those 86 days?  The lack of clarity arises in the inadequacy of record-keeping, and I’m not certain how one really discovers the facts of dolphin capture, breeding and transport.  Ceta-base is fundamental to research about dolphin birth, transport and death.

Estimated to have been born in 1985, Shaka has been used to breed dolphins for the captive industry.

At least two of her offspring are now living in captivity.

If the records are accurate, it appears that Lokahi and Kolohe are twins, born four days apart.  It is possible that Shaka’s keepers did not realize that she was still carrying Kolohe.  And it is not impossible that the twin birthing process can proceed over this period of time.  Twinning is dolphins is rare, no greater than 1% of pregnancies.  It is a testament to Shaka’s strength that both boys lived, if indeed, the records attributing both boys to Shaka and their dates of birth are accurate.

After the births of Kolohe and Lokahi, Shaka is reported to have lost at least two calves in this effort to breed and supply more captive dolphins:

  • a female stillborn calf was born on September 26, 1996, sired by Hobi, and
  • a female calf, also sired by Hobi, born on November 3, 1997, who lived 16 days, and died on November 19, 1997.

No records indicate that Shaka subsequently became pregnant or gave birth to more dolphins.   Dolphins generally breed only once every five years, because in the wild, the calves nurse from three to 10 years and stay with their mother continuing to learn how to be a dolphin.

So Shaka was busy.  Too busy, I’d say.  Let’s see.  In the wild, they generally give birth only once every five years.  Shaka gave birth to four calves in three years.

Let’s see:

  • July 8, 1994 – Lokahi
  • July 12, 1994 – Kolohe
  • September 26, 1996 – stillborn female calf
  • November 3, 1997 – female calf, died November 19, 1997

Does that sound like care was taken of Shaka to ensure that her health and vitality were safeguarded?

Nah.  It doesn’t to me either.

So now, she is held at the Georgia Aquarium, where she gets to do stuff like get filmed by CNN picking the Superbowl winner.

And remember, it is the dolphin show that REQUIRES that dolphins like Shaka keep churning out babies.

Ready to take that pledge not to go to a dolphin show?

For more information about the 11 dolphins housed at the Georgia Aquarium, and future educational events, “like” the Facebook page of Free the Atlanta 11.

Thanks to Ceta-base and Alltomdelfiner.se and the other linked sites for the information in this story.

Mattel or Playmobil – Some Ideas for Whale- and Dolphin-Friendly Toy

Following up on the debacle of whale and dolphin (and shark-killing) toys that Mattel and Playmobil have devised, I have some suggestions that might actually engender a love of and respect for animals and nature, instead of Whale Dominatrix Barbie.

Sea Kayak and Whale from Tombarefoot.com

Sea Kayak and Whale from Tombarefoot.com Can you say, "Freaking Wow!"

Imagine how awesome it would be to see your child developing an interest in stand-up paddling or sea kayaking, such that it actually informed your family vacation next Summer.  How so very awesome to set their young minds on respect and appreciation, instead of control, manipulation, destruction – which is inherent in the current whale, dolphin and shark toys, that are rooted in maintaining and promoting the dolphin show.

A side-show barker couldn’t do much better at promoting the acceptability of whale and dolphin captivity than Mattel’s and Playmobil’s current toys.  But what about, instead of the current repertoire of whale- and dolphin-unfriendly toys, a:

  • Sea Kayak Barbie
  • Stand-up Paddling Barbie
  • Playmobil Dolphin Pod Watch
  • Whale Watching Barbie

Seriously.  Isn’t that the kind of toy you want your sons and daughters using to tease out their imagination (not that they need – or even should have – a plastic toy to do that – that’s a discussion for another day)?  One that calls them to do more than encourage the capture and domination of a species to do stupid tricks?  One that calls them to appreciate and value the magnificence of marine mammals in their own habitat, living in their own family and community groups.

Watch this video and see if you can’t imagine Mattel and Playmobil making a toy for your child that teaches these awesome values, instead of Capture! Dominate! Demean!

Wow.  Methinks there is a San Juan adventure in my future.  And if Mattel made a Sea Kayak Barbie?  Well, let’s just say that I can think of one little girl with an awesome Barbie in her future.

By the way, there are lots of these sea kayak and paddling adventure tours out there.  Since I have never done one, I can’t recommend one yet.  My friend over at Jules Rules is a serious traveler and outdoor adventure girl.  She’s going to be my first line for recommendations.

Mattel oughta have a Jules Rules Barbie.  Now, that is an awesome idea.