Chasing Dolphins : Challenging their trust.

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By Katherine Graham on 31.3.2023

Chasing Dolphins : Challenging their trust.

I have met a dolphin in the wild, and the experience was distressing not just for me and my sister and cousins who were in the sea with me, but also I’m sure, for the dolphin. We were in Florida and as children we were having a competition as to who could float for longest on their back in the sea, when a dolphin swam underneath my cousin. We had been entirely still and the dolphin came to us, and swam around as we looked on in complete shock. “”

The situation turned when others cottoned on to what was going on and tried to touched the dolphin, running through the water and swimming after it. The dolphin, obviously startled disappeared. But people did not give up, chasing it far out to sea. It was a shame, and also unnecessary. Dolphins in the wild are not tamed to do our bidding, and it has since been my thought that you are more likely to have a dolphin “experience” if you allow the dolphin to approach you – obviously a sign of trust.

I don’t really blame such people since tour operators have, for years, offered experiences guaranteeing a close encounter with the dolphins which has been advertised as a life affirming event. As such we have humanised dolphins for convenience, assuming that they understand that we don’t want to hurt them. Although they are intelligent, beautiful and sociable, they are also wild and most importantly cannot understand us. There are predators in the ocean that they must be wary of to protect themselves and their families. Being chased by a high speed boat and people must be terrifying. How can they understand that we are not predators? They cannot, and we should not expect them to be able to.

What we seem to forget is that when we are in the ocean we are in their home territory. If someone invaded our home and proceeded to chase us we would feel scared and I would no longer feel safe in my own home. My own instinct would then be that my sanctuary has been violated and I would want to move. This is what the dolphins are doing, and possibly to territory not quite as good for them as where they have been chased from.

I would also remind people that my dolphin experience occurred for free. I had not paid for the pleasure and that made the experience all the more special. I have always felt that the dolphin chose to come to me. It did not stay for those who chased it. It may be beneficial then for us as well as the dolphins to stay away. The dolphins’ well-being would not be threatened, we could gain their trust again and they may choose to come to us.


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