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Caring for Marine Life
Jul 16, 2021
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If you are a baby boomer, I am sure that one of your favorite TV shows in the 60s is “Flipper.” I was always excited to watch the show with my family because it was family-oriented, wholesome, and the star was a bottleneck nose dolphin originally named Kathy. An article published online (https://www.ranker.com/) reported that she was “taken from the wild to be trained for film.” She was in captivity for the rest of her life trained every day for shows to entertain young and old alike.

Undoubtedly, the TV show “Flipper” was one of the most popular shows at that time and I was one of the avid fans of the show. After a few years, the show ended and I was not able to know the reasons for it so suddenly that it really made me very sad.

After more than several decades, I found out why the show ended with an online article I read recently. Kathy, known as Flipper, died in a very frustrating and shocking way. According to the article, she suffered depression that led to her untimely death.

Kathy a.k.a Flipper became so sad and depressed spending all her life in the chamber. She became sicker and her captor and trainer found that she was really not in good condition. "She swam into his arms and stopped breathing completely. When he let her go, she sank to the bottom of the tank, and when he pulled her to the surface, she was dead. She ended her life by swimming into his arms and holding her breath” (retrieved from a similar source).   

"In the case of Flipper's Kathy, her trainer insists that she killed herself due to a broken heart. She isn't the only dolphin known to become depressed to the point of taking its own life. In a slightly more scandalous case of dolphin suicide, a dolphin named Peter, who was used in a scientific experiment, killed itself after being separated from its human experimenter with whom it had become sexually infatuated" (retrieved from similar source).

As of this writing, I am teary-eyed and very much disappointed about how this much loved creature died by committing suicide. Now I know that mammals like dolphins are capable of feeling sad and depressed when left alone with none of their family members around to feel that love and belongingness to their family.

Flipper had a cult following and her being in the show earned so much money for her owner and the show. However, when the show was finished, she was like dumped in a small chamber of the seaquarium. How cruel could humans be to these creatures!

The case of Kathy’s taking her own life intentionally was a wake up call for her trainor and captor, Rick O’ Barry with his conclusion that “ her [Flipper/Kathy) actions were completely intentional and came as a result from moving her to captivity.”

In 1970, he started concentrating on stopping dolphin captivity that later on led the way to the founding of the Dolphin Project with the goal of stopping the "slaughtering, capturing, and captivity of dolphins"

This particular case of a dolphin snatched away from her habitat to be trained and to gain popularity and financial success is a wake up call not only for the captor and trainer of Flipper. It is for us to be more aware of our environment and stop the abuse that we do if we do not want to experience catastrophic events such as wildfires, heat waves, flash floods, earthquakes, etc. that are already happening in some parts of the world that have already claimed many lives.

Marine life is also affected because we do not dispose of our trash properly and the use of plastic for example, has caused deaths among fishes, flora, and fauna that may lead to our water to be polluted and marine life to die and be extinct. For example, the use of plastic has already caused deaths among them.

Now is the time for us to do our share to make nature and the environment safe for all creatures, humans and animals alike and to work for ecological balance.

Aside from these, we must be sensitive towards animal behavior because like us, they also have their feelings and emotions such as anger, happiness, sadness, frustration, and depression. It is not only taking care of them like feeding them and making sure they are protected from weather conditions that will make them sick. We have to know more about them, their emotions and actions when they try to manifest any feeling they have through their actions.

It is time to educate ourselves and know more about the animals around us, not only our pets and also those who live in bodies of water such as the dolphins who are also mammals like us. We can plan out what we can do and write our ideas about taking care of the environment, animals, and wildlife by sitting behind an adjustable standing desk from Flexispot.

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