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So long, and thanks for all the fish
July 16, 2010 6:38 AM   Subscribe

Dolphin escapes from SeaWorld tank in Japan, but is caught a few moments later. (SLYT)
posted by swift (54 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite

 
Letting him watch The Cove was a bad idea.
posted by mecran01 at 6:44 AM on July 16, 2010


I like how the other dolphins still in the tank gather to stare at him, as if to say "Not a smart move, dude."
posted by Dr. Zira at 6:47 AM on July 16, 2010 [12 favorites]


Anyone supporting that dolphin on facebook is a symptom of everything currently wrong with the underseaclass in Japan.
posted by shinybaum at 6:47 AM on July 16, 2010


I'm not sure he fully thought this through.

What I think is neat is how the other dolphins came over to check him out, or possibly to taunt him.
posted by bondcliff at 6:47 AM on July 16, 2010 [1 favorite]


It's a protest. Like a hunger strike. He wants out of fucking jail, and he wants the audience to know about it.

Note how his cellmates stay close by. They're interested as hell. perhaps they're being supportive.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 6:47 AM on July 16, 2010 [5 favorites]


6:47 jinx on all of you.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 6:48 AM on July 16, 2010 [1 favorite]


Poor dolphin, all this to entertain us stupid humans.
posted by elmono at 6:50 AM on July 16, 2010


That lady is just thinking "OMG, I am going to be crushed by a dolphin, I did not see that coming.""
posted by smackfu at 6:50 AM on July 16, 2010


But I thought intelligent beings enjoy captivity...?
posted by shakespeherian at 6:51 AM on July 16, 2010 [1 favorite]


What is the deal with the blue mats? Is it to keep the water that they're spraying on him from flooding all over? Is it to support the sides of his body for some reason? It's weird how, while the other dolphins all zoom over to goggle, the humans are running around, gathering mats.

Flapjax, I posit that the dolphins are watching the outcome of a long-standing escalating series of dares. This has got to be at least a double-dog.
posted by Mizu at 6:53 AM on July 16, 2010 [3 favorites]


That's a big dolphin.
posted by bjork24 at 6:54 AM on July 16, 2010


What is the deal with the blue mats?

My guess is that it's stop him from scraping himself on the concrete.
posted by smackfu at 6:55 AM on July 16, 2010 [3 favorites]


Do you think he did that on porpoise?
posted by bjork24 at 6:55 AM on July 16, 2010 [8 favorites]


(I am not a marine biologist.) My guess about the mats is that the concrete is hot, and the mats keep him cooler.
posted by desjardins at 6:57 AM on July 16, 2010 [2 favorites]


Lunch meat!
posted by Shike at 7:09 AM on July 16, 2010


Do you think he did that on porpoise?

I think he did it just for the halibut.
posted by bondcliff at 7:10 AM on July 16, 2010 [9 favorites]


Jesus, those things are big.

Note: My use of "things" is meant in no way to objectify or demean our whale brethren; this particular commenter found himself moved nearly to tears by the life-sized blue whale sculpture hanging in the American Museum of Natural History, and through disclosure of this minor humiliation he hopes to put to rest accusations of failing to be properly awed by cetacean biology.
posted by pts at 7:10 AM on July 16, 2010 [1 favorite]


Lunch meat mercury!
posted by flapjax at midnite at 7:11 AM on July 16, 2010


I hate Sea World.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 7:13 AM on July 16, 2010 [1 favorite]


I'm digging the "dolphin is not a fish, lobster is an insect" battle in the Youtube comments.
posted by kuujjuarapik at 7:30 AM on July 16, 2010 [5 favorites]


the life-sized blue whale sculpture

See, that never seemed that big to me. Size is all about context and hanging something from the ceiling ruins that. If it was sitting in the middle of the floor, then it would seem BIG.
posted by smackfu at 7:32 AM on July 16, 2010


Note: My use of "things" is meant in no way to objectify or demean our whale brethren;

Next you will be telling us that some of your best friends are cetaceans We've seen this dodge before....
posted by GenjiandProust at 7:40 AM on July 16, 2010


Lobsters are less related to insects than dolphins are to fish.
</lobster researcher>
posted by Humanzee at 7:50 AM on July 16, 2010 [12 favorites]


I'm waiting for all the goose-haters to turn up and explain why it's cool that we keep very intelligent creatures in little performance tanks. Or that we should eliminate them all but only if we eat them.
posted by imperium at 8:05 AM on July 16, 2010


I'm waiting for all the goose-haters to turn up and explain why it's cool that we keep very intelligent creatures in little performance tanks.

To be fair, dolphins rarely poop on the sidewalk.
posted by GenjiandProust at 8:11 AM on July 16, 2010 [2 favorites]


Actually, it has been well documented that the dolphin's brain is proportionately larger than the human's. Some say that dolphins are smarter than humans. Others say that they are more smarter, and still others say that they are... smarterest.
posted by shakespeherian at 8:16 AM on July 16, 2010 [4 favorites]


smakfu: See, that never seemed that big to me.

Goodness, I'm glad it's not my job to produce something that would impress you. The thing fills the ceiling of a giant hall. It looms, if ever a thing can be said to have loomed.

GenjiandProust: Next you will be telling us that some of your best friends are cetaceans We've seen this dodge before...

NOT SPECIES-IST
posted by pts at 8:18 AM on July 16, 2010 [1 favorite]


dolphins rarely poop on the sidewalk.

[puts on sunglasses]

..until now.

YEEEEEAAAAAHHHHHHHH.......
posted by CynicalKnight at 8:26 AM on July 16, 2010 [6 favorites]


I'm waiting for all the goose-haters to turn up and explain why it's cool that we keep very intelligent creatures in little performance tanks. Or that we should eliminate them all but only if we eat them.

There are lots of reasons that it's cool to keep Dolphins in tanks :

1. Research. It's astoundingly hard to learn about animals in the wild, even more so in the ocean.

2. Outreach. Let's face it, people care most about the things they can conceive of. Shows like this help people to care about what happens to dolphins and their habitat.

3. Training. Because of the research that has been done, we device policy and regulations to better protect and preserve them.

So yeah, it sucks for those few dolphins in the tank. Or maybe it doesn't - free food and no predation after all. But there are benefits to humans and dolphins, and yeah, you can argue whether those benefits are worth it.

But to pretend they don't exist to make a rhetorical point is stupid. Don't be stupid.
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 8:46 AM on July 16, 2010 [2 favorites]


The remaining dolphins in the tank immediately decided to call off the attack on humanity.
posted by orme at 8:54 AM on July 16, 2010


Link to article with a little bit of context. Also, for what it's worth, not Sea World, but the Okinawa Churaumi Aquarium.
posted by aught at 8:55 AM on July 16, 2010


That is some of the most worthless camera work I've seen in a long time.

Also, it seems weird that the staff seemed to know exactly what to do. I mean, I'm sure there's a contingency, but does it happen enough that they can just spring into action like that?
posted by cmoj at 9:09 AM on July 16, 2010 [1 favorite]


So long, and thanks for all the fish

Appropriate title, me thinks. I also agree with Pogo_Fuzzybutt. More a fan of wild canids vs cetaceans but yeah.

Trinsic
posted by TrinsicWS at 9:15 AM on July 16, 2010


Hold on, I speak dolphin...

"squee squeeeee pfft squeeekysqueeee..."

He's saying...

"FREEDOM! Aww, fuck. Wait, wait. No. This sucks. PUT ME BACK, PUT ME BACK!"
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 9:16 AM on July 16, 2010 [1 favorite]


the dolphin's brain is proportionately larger than the human's

their brains are also more wrinkly, which is generally associated with higher intelligence, and thus it seems that dolphins are smarter than you. however, their brains are like double-brains - each half is a fully functioning brain in its own right. this is necessary because half the brain sleeps for eight hours, then the other half sleeps for eight hours, then both halves are awake for eight hours, allowing them to sleep and not drown. so half a dolphin's brain is perhaps like the brain of a 5-year-old. it's almost certain that you are smarter than half the dolphin's brain. the question is - how many 5-year-olds are you smarter than?
posted by thetruthisjustalie at 9:31 AM on July 16, 2010 [1 favorite]


I'm surprised they didn't cut of a dorsal fin and pass it around to the audience as a snack.
posted by matty at 9:36 AM on July 16, 2010


So what happened to the dolphin? The article Aught posted doesn't say the conclusion. I assume it's ok? It looks like the outside of the tank was padded in expectation of this? That giant thing hitting the ground couldn't have been pleasant.
posted by thylacine at 9:52 AM on July 16, 2010


shakespherian, it's actually mice that are the smarterest.
posted by Greg_Ace at 10:46 AM on July 16, 2010


It's really pretty fascinating how the others come over to check out the situation. It is so very clear that they understand that the normal order of things has been upended. They realize very quickly that their associate has done something noteworthy and immediately come over to rubberneck.

I wish we could get a translation of their conversation about the event. "No one could have predicted this. He's always been a quiet normal guy. Kept to himself mostly."
posted by Babblesort at 10:59 AM on July 16, 2010 [4 favorites]


That is some of the most worthless camera work I've seen in a long time.

This is common in bystander and audience footage. It's also infuriating. When the exciting thing happens the cameraman jumps up to get a look at what's going on, and usually whips the camera away from whatever he was pointing at. You see this all the time in rodeo bloopers.
posted by Doublewhiskeycokenoice at 11:01 AM on July 16, 2010


It's a damn good thing there wasn't a machine gun lying there.
posted by hellbient at 11:18 AM on July 16, 2010


You see this all the time in rodeo bloopers.

Quoted for truth.
posted by barrett caulk at 11:20 AM on July 16, 2010 [1 favorite]



I wish we could get a translation of their conversation about the event.

DAVE: Damn, he did it! You did it Mitch!

JANE: You owe him 12 squid now, Dave!

DAVE: Nuh-uh we didn't shake on it.

MITCH: Fuck you guys.
posted by Mister_A at 12:24 PM on July 16, 2010 [1 favorite]


but is caught a few moments later

The dolphin isn't "caught a few moments later"—it didn't escape. It climbed out a tank.

That said, this incident grieves me. The creature is in distress. No one in the video attunes themselves to that. Maybe it is a special needs dolphin. Maybe it mistunderstood. Maybe it made a mistake.

Or maybe it just wanted to be free. Or maybe it wanted to die.

There are lots of reasons that it's cool to keep Dolphins in tanks

I felt less intelligent after reading that sentence. There may reasons someone finds rational to capture notably intelligent animals, usually in brutal manners—or "breeding" them in captivity [sic]—but none of them are "cool".

They are brutal, insensitive, and based in entitlement. But they are not cool. It is fun to be around dolphins and sea mammals? Oh yes. Does that make it cool that they suffer for this indignity? Nope. Not in the least.

Dolphins have families. They have friends. They have social orders, whole societies we have almost no understanding of. For instance, we just learned they very well may have names. There is only one other creature on the planet we know of which has names for itself. Yes, it is us.

As a nation, the Japanese in particular are resistant to considering dolphins and other sea mammals as sentient and worthy of respect. Instead, Japan treats sea mammals in a manner which is as disturbing to many of us as human slavery or human racism to many of us. And by us I mean human beings who care about such things as other human beings, even if those humans may be dolphins.

This footage grieved me because it is so clear that as human caregivers, the tenders were remiss in their absence of compassion for the great creature which was in distress. For instance, if this were many other places, individuals would have rushed to the creatures side and signaled to it that everything was alright, to remain calm, and that help was on the way. People would have communicated everything is cool.

That's not what happened. What appears to have happened here is a piece of valuable property got loose and immediate concern for maintaining its continued value superseded empathy.

Furthermore, this is not only a dolphin, it is a species known as False Killer Whale, or Pseudorca, and there is a movement to list them as endangered. They live over 60 years. We do not know how many are left in the world. This is the species of dolphin which strands itself more often than any other. We do not know why but it is more than suspected this has to do with subsonics, marine sonar, and seismic exploration.

Living in a tank for a creature that which has reign of the ocean, prefers deep waters, and lives in—as Pseudorca does—large groups, is a jail sentence. Living around people who treat it as a commodity or at best a large pet is perhaps disheartening enough to attempt dangerous escape or suicide. This is not unheard of. In captivity, dolphins live short lives and often die quickly (within two years).

Lastly, because the question was begged, is it cool to see dolphins at the zoo?

Like us, some dolphins are jerks, some are mean, and some are bad. But as a rule, they are cool.

Now, dolphins in tanks, or our treatment of dolphins? Not cool.
posted by humannaire at 12:31 PM on July 16, 2010 [7 favorites]


The dolphin isn't "caught a few moments later"—it didn't escape. It climbed out a tank.

I'm curious what your definition of "escape" is.
posted by swift at 3:06 PM on July 16, 2010



As a nation, the Japanese in particular are resistant to considering dolphins and other sea mammals as sentient and worthy of respect. Instead, Japan treats sea mammals in a manner which is as disturbing to many of us as human slavery or human racism to many of us. And by us I mean human beings who care about such things as other human beings, even if those humans may be dolphins.


This casually racist hyperbolic bullshit is crap.

It's this relentless douchebaggery in the pursuit of defending that enables kooks who are capable of quite a lot and not very much of it reinforcing their supposed moral high ground.
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 4:13 PM on July 16, 2010 [1 favorite]


[dolphins in tank]

"Ooh, that's gonna leave a mark."

"Aw man, earth rash."

"Holeeee shiiiit!"

"Dude are you okay?"

"Did you get that?"

"This is so going on YouTube!"
posted by bwg at 4:41 PM on July 16, 2010


Greg_Ace: shakespherian, it's actually mice that are the smarterest.

(i was quoting a ucb episode)
posted by shakespeherian at 5:01 PM on July 16, 2010


(And I was using any flimsy excuse to quote H2G2. So I guess we're even. Or something.)
posted by Greg_Ace at 5:30 PM on July 16, 2010


Humannaire, you started off and ended on the right foot, but..

This footage grieved me because it is so clear that as human caregivers, the tenders were remiss in their absence of compassion for the great creature which was in distress. For instance, if this were many other places, individuals would have rushed to the creatures side and signaled to it that everything was alright, to remain calm, and that help was on the way. People would have communicated everything is cool.

That's not what happened. What appears to have happened here is a piece of valuable property got loose and immediate concern for maintaining its continued value superseded empathy.


I think you're reaching.

It seems to me as if people cared quite a bit. They did what they could, given the situation, in a timely manner. How do you expect those on the ground to communicate to the dolphin that everything is okay? Hell, you can't even tell a human things are going to be okay and have them believe you and stop freaking out during a moment of extreme distress. No less when the possibly unstable victim is as large and heavy as this one. It makes for a pretty daunting situation, and in front of a whole audience taking photos and videos of every second? Yikes.

Should the animal be there in the first place, no. But I'd assume most, if not all of the people on the ground with the dolphin really had no say in the fact that he was there and try to make the most of it for him. I don't think we should be blaming people who spent years educating themselves on these creatures for attempting to make the best of a very bad and unfortunate situation.
posted by june made him a gemini at 8:47 PM on July 16, 2010


How do you expect those on the ground to communicate to the dolphin that everything is okay?

I don't think we should be blaming people who spent years educating themselves on these creatures for attempting to make the best of a very bad and unfortunate situation.


This one is simple. But I have the advantage of loads of time with dolphins et al. Dolphins and trainers develop relationships. Even in some of the crappy places there are trainers who develop very close bonds with the dolphins. There is in fact trust. They are ridiculously intelligent. Not individually but as a kind. Agreed, physically they are strong but most are not jerks. (Though to be fair, could you blame them?) Meaning, most will not intentionally hurt you when helping them and usually quite the opposite: They look for cues.

As for "the people who spent years educating themselves on the these creatures", that's not proven here and does not have to the case. The video here leads one to believe it is not. However, it is possible this dolphin was a jerk and the trainers knew it and were being professional. Still, seeing as this is Seaworld and Japan...

[PS I have to apologize to Pogo_Fuzzybutt and anyone else about the Japanese reference. My specific position is that, whoever wantonly kills and hunts dolphins and whales, I am going to be incapable of adequately specifically describing who you are except to say whoever you are, please stop. Aside from the fact that consuming whale and dolphin is well-connected with leading to physical deformity and irreversible mental impairment due to mercury poisoning, forcing the serving of the meat of whales to school children is not helping anyone. Here's plenty on that.]

Even at Disney, official company policy with regards to dolphins is: Dolphins do not "feel or have emotions". My contention is that it's exactly this kind of specieist position that is at the core of the problem. I do not want our species to go down in history as the one that killed of their species. Dolphins and whales aren't just "cool" [specieist], they are uniquely intelligent in a way that we human people can learn from.

When do we begin attributing real rights to sympathetically intelligent beings which we do not understand but which we are able to kill or exterminate? Is it soon?
posted by humannaire at 11:48 PM on July 16, 2010


Is it soon?

I'd like to think so. But realistically speaking, I'd say it won't be anytime soon. Consider that here at Metafilter we have, by reasonably objective standards, I believe, a relatively intelligent and compassionate user base, but one which still consistently responds to links such as this one with the same tired litany of food jokes and whatnot. The offhand dismissal of notions like the ones you espouse here, humannaire, is, sadly, the norm at Mefi. And if it's the norm at Mefi, you gotta think it's even worse among the general populace.

Animal rights issues are virtually always met here with snide derision and cheap jokes. It's one of the only things I'm really embarrassed about and disappointed with when I consider this forum.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 12:57 AM on July 17, 2010 [1 favorite]


flapjax, I like to think it's because we're perceptive enough around here to realize how unlikely it is that humanity is going to radically change any time soon, despite the best intentions of some; and the only other response we can give is gallows humor...laughing to keep from crying, that kind of thing.

I'm not knocking animal-rights activism by any means, I think it's important to do whatever possible to educate humanity in general. But it's going to take years - decades at least - of effort. No reasonably intelligent person can expect immediate success.
posted by Greg_Ace at 11:58 AM on July 17, 2010


Metafilter: Maybe it is a special needs dolphin.
posted by mecran01 at 11:19 PM on July 23, 2010


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