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Naturalistic Dolphin Exhibits?

Discussion in 'General Zoo Discussion' started by The Speeding Carnotaurus, 17 Dec 2017.

  1. The Speeding Carnotaurus

    The Speeding Carnotaurus Well-Known Member

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    Heyo
    I was wondering why there are no naturalistic dolphin exhibits. Seals and Penguins have some naturalistic exhibits but dolphins don't? There also seems to be a lack of enrichment in most dolphin exhibits. Any reasons why dolphins seem to be getting overlooked?
     
  2. SealPup

    SealPup Well-Known Member

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    Cynically, its because the dolphinarium boom was motivated by profit, and sensationalism, rather than normal zoo standards. Unlike some ppl I won't start off about how dolphins are special, because they're not. Dolphinaria though do seem special, as in they act as though they were apart from standards in other public animal collections.
     
  3. PaleoMatt

    PaleoMatt Well-Known Member

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    Well, Duisburg's boto exhibit looks quite natural at least.
     
  4. SealPup

    SealPup Well-Known Member

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    Has anyone tried keeping cetaceans with other animals, such as pinnipeds? Just curious.
     
  5. The Speeding Carnotaurus

    The Speeding Carnotaurus Well-Known Member

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    I believe Seaworld has a rather naturalistic tank for the commersons dolphins.
     
  6. PaleoMatt

    PaleoMatt Well-Known Member

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    I think the Georgia Aquarium has belugas and seals together.
     
  7. SealPup

    SealPup Well-Known Member

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    Eared or earless seals?
     
  8. PaleoMatt

    PaleoMatt Well-Known Member

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    I think earless.
     
  9. SealPup

    SealPup Well-Known Member

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    Which species, anyone know?
     
  10. PaleoMatt

    PaleoMatt Well-Known Member

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    I just googled it and they are harbour seals.
     
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  11. Brum

    Brum Well-Known Member

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    I'm fairly certain Nuremberg keep dolphins with California sea lions but there is an element of doubt. I've seen dolphins and sea lions perform in the same show in either Mallorca or Mainland Spain but it was a long time ago and would have to try and find the old photo albums out to be sure exactly where it was.
     
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  12. Hyak_II

    Hyak_II Well-Known Member

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    Oh the ignorance in this thread...

    There are a LARGE number of naturalistic cetacean exhibits if one bothers to put even a slight amount of effort into searching.

    In North America alone, Orlando, San Diego and Georgia both have quite nice beluga exhibits, with faux rockwork and substrate, and all are mixed exhibits with harbor (and at Orlando harp) seals. Mystic and Vancouver (while they had them) were also quite natural with rockwork, etc...but not mixed exhibit.

    As for Dolphins, virtually anything in the Florida keys is natural. Dolphin Research Center, Theater of the Sea, Dolphin Connection, Dolphin Island Care,Dolphins Plus Bayside and Oceanside are all very nice seapen or natural lagoon facilities, with natural substrates, rocks features and fish coming and going from the enclosures. A couple of other facilites in NA (Dolphin Quests in Hawaii and Oahu, plus their Bermuda location) are very similar, being very nice lagoons with all the same things as above. Georgia Aquarium, the Mirage Dolphin Habitat, Seaworld Orlando, Miami Seaquarium and Aquatica Orlando also all have decent exhibits that have false rockwork or reef structures in them as well. There is also Discovery Cove and Epcot, and these two in my mind are quite distinct. Discovery cove is a series of three LARGE manmade lagoon with natural substrate and faux rockwork, and Epcot is a large and DEEP tank with natural substrate, false coral structures, and a large number of fish free to swim in and out of the dolphins area through a divider separating the dolphins from the sharks, rays and turtles.

    As for the rest of the world, like others have mentioned, Nuremberg has an EXCELLENT exhibit, with natural substrates, rockwork, false "kelp", and mixed with California Sea Lions. Both of Duisburg's cetacean exhibits are quite nice, their Boto is in a lovely freshwater basin with fish, and their Bottlenose have a rather nice tank with lots of faux rockwork. The Dolfinarium Harderwijk also has an excellent outdoor lagoon, with a large variety of natural life (sponges, anemones, fish, inverts, etc..) and natural rockwork and substrate.

    There are many more examples, however the where the first to pop into my head and I feel like it gets the point across.
     
  13. The Speeding Carnotaurus

    The Speeding Carnotaurus Well-Known Member

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    Will have to visit at least a few of these :) Just curious, is the natural substrate sand or...?
     
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  14. SealPup

    SealPup Well-Known Member

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    Are there any incidents when mixing pinnipeds and cetaceans?
     
  15. ZooBoyNZ

    ZooBoyNZ Well-Known Member

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    Sea World on the Gold Coast (Australia) has some large, naturalistic exhibits for their Australian Humpback and Bottlenose dolphins - there is a show pool, a nursery pool and two other large lagoons which are all sandy bottomed and relatively deep.
     
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  16. Chlidonias

    Chlidonias Moderator Staff Member

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    A Hector's Dolphin was killed by a Leopard Seal at the Napier Marineland...

    It probably wasn't an intentional mix though.
     
  17. SealPup

    SealPup Well-Known Member

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    Which makes sense given their sizes and the seal's diet. I was concerned some pinnipeds and cetaceans are predatory on large prey or violent to other sea mammals, for example grey seals on harbour porpoises, or bottlenosed dolphins killing porpoises (not for food). The other day I learned the Amazon river dolphins will kill tucuxi babies, just as I was wondering if they would make a mixed exhibit with manatees and otters. Mixing sea mammals seems a wonderful way to increase enrichment for both species, but seems frought w risks.
     
  18. TheMightyOrca

    TheMightyOrca Well-Known Member

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    As HyakII points out, there are several naturalistic dolphin exhibits. (doesn't Gold Coast in Australia have naturalistic features for their bottlenose dolphins too?) Though it's also true that there are a lot of bare exhibits, in a way that you don't really see with other animals. I imagine that dolphin shows play a part, those are still big attractions at a lot of zoos and maybe it's harder to do them in naturalistic exhibits. After all, there are still a number of bare pinniped exhibits (though most seem to at least have rock formations these days) and they're another common show species. (of course, a lot of the places that HyakII mentions have shows, so I dunno) Maybe maintenance is a factor, as dolphins are usually in larger tanks. Or it could simply be that, for whatever reason, (maybe size) a lot of places just haven't gotten around to updating the exhibits.

    I don't know much about cetaceans and pinnipeds sharing exhibits. I've seen some photos (mostly older ones) of sea lions and cetas performing in shows together, but they may not have been kept together outside of shows. I have heard about the leopard seal killing the Hector's dolphin. I could have sworn that I read they were kept in separate exhibits and the seal got in somehow but I can't find anything on it now. I would assume they were kept separately, leopard seals are hardcore.
     
  19. SealPup

    SealPup Well-Known Member

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    Have leopard seals ever eaten a cetacean in the wild? They must come into contact, at times. Hourglass, Commerson's and southern right whale dolphins, and spectacled porpoises, most obviously.

    Leopard Seal Kills Scientist in Antarctica
    Leopard seal - Wikipedia

    Other pinnipeds, being carnivores, have been recorded preying upon other tetrapods including cetaceans. Walker's Mammals even claims walruses will attack other sea mammals, for the blubber.
     
    Last edited: 18 Dec 2017
  20. TheMightyOrca

    TheMightyOrca Well-Known Member

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    Well, leopard seals are known to kill and eat other seals, (and as you just posted, they've killed humans) so a small cetacean wouldn't be out of the question. As far as I know, it hasn't been recorded in the wild, but I can't imagine that a zoo owner would want to take chances.