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Natural World

Scientists try to measure dolphin 'happiness'

May 28, 2018 | Comment icon 3 comments



What do dolphins really think of their trainers ? Image Credit: CC BY 2.0 Curimedia Photography
A recent study aimed to find out how marine park dolphins actually felt about their life in captivity.
Observing how dolphins behave is one thing, but how can we tell what they are really thinking ?

To answer this question, scientists at a marine park in Paris spent three years conducting behavioral experiments and learning how to interpret the animals' physical postures.

They ultimately concluded that what the dolphins looked forward to the most was interacting with a familiar human trainer. They would typically exhibit this excitement by 'spy hopping' - a behavior that involved peering above the water's surface and looking towards where the trainers approached from.
They also seemed to become more active and spent more time towards the edges of the pool.

"We found a really interesting result - all dolphins look forward most to interacting with a familiar human," said lead researcher Dr Isabella Clegg.

"We've seen this same thing in other zoo animals and in farm animals."

"Better human-animal bonds equals better welfare."

Source: BBC News | Comments (3)



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Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #1 Posted by Trenix 4 years ago
Of course they look forward to it, they're in a prison all day. It's not like they can go explore and find and do new things. /facepalm
Comment icon #2 Posted by paperdyer 4 years ago
I guess if you have a dog or at you let them roam freely?  Mine are house pets and are always happy to see me when I get home from work.
Comment icon #3 Posted by krone 4 years ago
Asking a captive dolphin to tell you how happy it feels... isn't that kind of like asking someone in an insane asylym to rank how stable they feel? I mean, the emotional baseline for captive dolphins, which are some of the most intelligent mammals on the planet, is obviously going to be far lower than it is for a peer living in its ideal, open seas environment. This study is loading the dice in favour of marine parks - shamelessly so!


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