Captive dolphin breaks visitor’s teeth in pool

| 22/05/2014

(CNS): Management at one of Cayman’s dolphinairiums has denied any aggression on the part of their dolphins. Following reports that a tourist was hit in the mouth by a dolphin during a visit to Dolphin Discovery, the owner, Gene Thompson, said it was an accident which happened when the visitor lost focus for a moment. He told CNS that the visitor attended for emergency dental treatment as a result of the encounter but there were no serious injuries sustained. He also denied other reports of aggression by the dolphins held at the facility and said there had been less than a half dozen incidents since DolphinDiscovery opened where people and dolphins had clashed.

Thompson told CNS that on rare occasions when people are swimming with the dolphins, which are big creatures, they stop paying attention or don’t let go of bait when feeding them. In such rare case, he said, there can be nips and bumps but he said the animals were all well trained and cared for and there were absolutely no cases recorded at the facility where dolphins had behaved aggressively in any way.

In this latest incident, which happened on the 7 May with a guest who was staying at the Westin and was reportedly visiting on a conference with her employer, Thompson said the visitor had lost focused for a moment while in the pool. It seemed the dolphin had butted the woman in the face, damaging two of her teeth. He said Dolphin Discovery ensured that she was treated immediately and was covering the dental work costs and has followed up with the guest.

CNS contacted the Department of Agriculture, which is charged with the responsibility of overseeing the conditions of the dolphins, but it is not clear whether the government agency keeps any record of incidents involving potential aggressive behaviour. Experts say that aggression among dolphins in captive facilities could be an indication of problems in the way the animals are being kept. A spokesperson for the DoA said that they were unaware of this incident and CNS is awaiting a response to questions regarding the DoA’s record keeping and responsibilities in connection with incidents at the dolphinariums.

The owners of Dolphin Cove, the second facility in West Bay, told CNS that they have not had a single incident at that facility where a visitor has been nipped, bumped or caused even the slightest injury by any of the dolphins. Neil Burrows said he believed the dolphin facilities were obligated to report any such incidents involving visitors and dolphins to the DoA as such behaviour is a signal of aggression and can be a warning sign that something was not right.

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Comments (63)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Dolphins are large animals, you have to pay attention when you are around them. Accidents happen. Get over it.

  2. $$$$ says:

    In the recent past Cayman has attemped to place themselves above the typical Caribbean island.  A step above…Caymankind.  Is this what we call "kind"? 

    When the green trumps the blue we all lose.     

     
  3. None are so blind says:

    I think the owner of Dolphin Discovery is the one who has lost 'focus'. Their only focus is money NOT the welfare of the animals. So don't b.s. us.

  4. Anonymous says:

    The existence of these dolphin torture facilities in Cayman is a matter of outright disgrace and shame for all residents.

    The circumstances under which these torture facilities came into existence, notwithstanding massive opposition, should be investigated by the UK authorities as a matter of urgency.

  5. Anonymous says:

    I was there and I heard him say "go ahead and pull my fin again…I dare you"

     

  6. Anonymous says:

    So long, and thanks for all the fish!

  7. Maiden Plum says:

    Whale, whale, whale.  What do we have here?

    • Knot S Smart says:

      A whale is in our pool… A whale is in our pool…

      Attack… Attack… Defend our pool…

  8. Anonymous says:

    For an island that thrives on tourism there sure is a lot of negativity about tourists. Maybe ll tourists should stop coming here. 

  9. P&L says:

    Caged birds look sad to me. I don't even really like the concept of fish tanks.

    look at that beautiful ocean… If i were a dolphin that is where I would want to be… So it would probably take a lot to keep me happy me in this tank all day playing over and over with soooo many people. Like a circus animal.

    We think they are happy or content because we are having fun and becausethey aren't killing us or breaking teeth… maybe sometimes they just want to be free and we should admire God's wonders from a distance.

    P&L

    • MEM says:

      Absolutely agree, though the dolphins are great fun to look at, I have been at the Dolpin Discovery and they lock the dolphins in very small cages when the place closes at night! They can hardly turn around in there! Dolphins are naturally curious and friendly, and if the only food they get all day is when they are hand fed by tourist, then how can anyone expect that they won't come swimming up excitedly to greet you!

  10. Anonymous says:

    Thank god you people are the minority of views about Dolphin parks on the island. There are 1000-2000 people who spend up to $200 per person to come visit these parks per week from cruise ships and hotels. 

    • Anonymous says:

      says a lot about the quality and intelligence of the tourists we attract.

      so what if they pay $200. like everyone says its all about greed.

    • Katrina Highkick says:

      Nice approach.  Why don't we offer bear baiting and cock-fighting too.  That will get the punters to spend their dollars.

  11. Julia says:

    Serves these tourists right!! Anyone who wants to swim with depressed and sad dolphin prisoners all should have their teeth knocked out and bones broken. How can anyone go and visit these amazing mammals in captivity. Disgrace! 

    • Anonymous says:

      19:14.You sound like one of those Cayaman haters .You are just trying to turn visitors against Caymanians.Evil.

      • Anonymous says:

        You really need to improve your English comprehension before you shoot off online.  That was embarrassing.

  12. Anonymous says:

    Willy was a Whale, Not a Dolphin Idiots. I think some of you should get well  inform before you make all this stupid comments.

    • Anonymous says:

      I wish this was an attempt at humor.  But, tragically, I doubt it was.  Which makes it funny, but not in a good way.

    • annonymous says:

      Killer whales ARE dolphins…now who’s the idiot that ‘should get well inform’!!!!

    • Anonymous says:

      an orca is a whale and it is the largest in the dolphin family.

      • Anonymous says:

        This makes no sense.  You do know that?  It is either a whale or a dolphin.  It can't be both. 

    • anonymous says:

      Willie was a toothed whales, just as a dolphin is. Who’s the idiot now? Those poor dolphins are wild caught, rounded into pens after watching and hearing their entire families murdered in a most gruesome and painful way. Then they are starved until they finally accept dead fish which normally is something they would never choose to eat as they eat live.prey in the wild. These highly sociable mammals are isolated in small tanks so selfish tourists can swim with them. Research also suggests that it is unpleasant to them to be touched. You sound like the real idiot here!

    • Anonymous says:

      Well ah hush ma mouth 16.57…so glad you pointed that out, I am sure nobody knew about that. Go google the words Ironic and Sarcastic and see what you find. If that is too difficult I will try to explain in words of one syllable…oh hell, why would I bother?

    • Anonymous says:

      An Orca is a type of Dolphin.

      • Anonymous says:

        A proper noun is a type of noun. But not all nouns are proper nouns.  You should learn the difference.

        • Anonymous says:

          You should learn to make relevant comments. I was responding to the statement: "Willy was a Whale, Not a Dolphin Idiots". My point was that Willie was indeed a type of dolphin and not actually a whale. Neither "whales" nor "dophins" is a proper noun. Try again.  

        • Anonymous says:

          LOL. I have a feeling you think "orca" is the personal name of a specific animal. It is not a proper noun, dumbass.  

    • Anonymous says:

      Did you obtain your marine biology degree from somewhere that let you submit research in crayon?

  13. Anonymous captive dolphin says:

    Well if only teeth were knocked out then that tourist was lucky! There's nothing more I like than ramming my body against unsuspecting tourists who aren't paying attention. Or better yet getting my herpes lips on them as they kiss me thinking I'm human. I'm better. But those dum dums who go pay to see me thinking they are swimming with wild animals and that's like going to Disneyland. We are not stuffed animals or mascots. We have been on this planet for 50 million plus years. You humans only a few 100k years at best. So leave us alone let us swim in the ocean we are not meant to have close contact with you humans unless we want to. Other things have happened with swim with programs have been very funny (for us, not for you) that you can find searching "dolphin accidents" on Google. We are not to be kept captive. We are not here for your banal entertainment. And when you least expect it you will have an unforgettable experience with me if you try to hold me captive. FAIR WARNING. WE HAVE THE BEST MEMORYON THIS PLANET. WE DO NOT FOGET. 

  14. Anonymous says:

    Whilst it is obvious one prison ahem…. I mean dophinarium is better than the other, they are both a blight on this island and neither should have been allowed in the first place! Sorry to say, but I am all for the dolphins fighting back!!!

  15. Anonymous says:

    Time to free Willy.   They are obviously not happy. That enclosure is too small, they are swimming around in a bath tub all day for our amusement, when they should be in the ocean.   I love Dolphins but seeing them in captivity is wrong.  Slavery is against the law isent it?  Shame shame shame.  

  16. 4Cayman says:

    How come they want to close the turtle farm yet these animal prisons remain unscathed, unchecked and open under the radar?

    • Anonymous says:

      Excellent question. Who shall answer.

      • Anonymous says:

        Well thedophin torture area is profitable, whereas the turtle torture area loses money.  I think that is the difference.

        • Anonymous says:

          That should make no difference at all to an associatio which says their mission is about preventing cruelty to animals rather than assisting Cayman fiscally. It proves that there is an ulterior motive.  

  17. Anonymous says:

    The tourist lost focus and got hit??? AAAHH Come on Gene, these dolphins are locked up in captivity, abuse to name the word for it…anyone who promotes and goes to these type of places deserve more then their teeth knocked out…no pity from here

  18. Anonymous says:

    Of course Gene said there was nothing wrong or that the captive dolphins were turning aggressive what did you think he would say?

    How does a guest or paying visitor lose focus and get a couple of teeth knocked out?

    Oh I get it, it was the visitor's fault. Why didn't you just say it to begin with?

  19. Anonymous says:

    LMAO

    FREE WILLY!!!

    • Anonymous says:

      Thanks 13.21, mine is Free and out in the fresh air already. Wondering why the ladies calling the police. All willy's should be free!

      • Katrina Highkick says:

        Women tend to appreciate men who know the difference between plurals and possessives.

  20. Anonymous says:

    I wish I could knock out the teeth of the people who own and operate this place. Not going to shed a tear for the tourists who support it though.

     

    Leave our island!

    • Anonymous says:

      I totally agree. Never understood why we allowed this to go on. Dolphins (fact) can swim up to 40 to 50 miles a day in the ocean. It's not the same as locking them away, confining them to a restricted space. This is just evil, so is the turtle farm; all need to be shut-down immediately.

       

      NATIVE CAYMANIAN.

  21. Anonymous says:

    This is an unfortunate accident but minor accident like these do happen, maybe only once and sometimes never, some many insensitive posters are on these sites.

  22. Anonymous says:

    There are always 2 sides of a story! Wonder what the visitor would say….? Sad holding the Dolphins captive!

  23. Anonymous says:

    That is what you get for supporting captive animals.  Honestly in the 21st Century and we are still keeping of all species dolphins captivated.  We should be ashamed of ourselves and so should Gene Thompson.  Don't worry there is a thing called Karma.  This is only the beginning of a long list of incidents that will be occuring.  The more attacks eventually the stupid place would have to shut down.  Disgraceful.  Again Cayman Islands for the good old Almighty Dollar.  When are you people going to learn that God is really not happy with you all right now. XXX Dolphin Discovery did nothing but steal and place intelligent species in a small hole calling it space for them to roam around in.  Do your home work idiots before getting involved with out dated entertainments that even the Democratic societies are removing from their own countries.  Please start me off  

     

  24. Anonymous says:

    There is a huge difference between the 2 parks.  Simple reason why one has never had an incident because at least they are in the ocean itself with little barrier and the other is just a pool.  I would get fed up in a pool and want to hit someone myself.

  25. Anonymous says:

    Serves the tourist right for going to such an awful abusive place.

  26. Cheese Face says:

    Good, anyone who swims with captive dolphin deserves to have their teeth knocked out.

    Free Willy!!!

    • Anonymous says:

      I did the Free Willy thing once and I am not allowed withon 1000 yards of a school for a decade.

    • Anonymous says:

      You now that Willy is dead now as a result of being freed right? Is that what you are advocating? Let all the marine mammals go so they can die?

      • Anonymous says:

        You're kind of funny. Dead because he was let go. Hah.  He had to be caught before he could be let go. Is that what you want? Capture and enclose all wild animals for their safety?

        • Anonymous says:

          Actually, most Orcas in aquariums were not captured purposefully. Most were in fact rescues that would have died had they not been rehabilitated in an aquarium and once in, there is no out. You might want to do some reading on the subject before just assuming. Basically what you are proposing is that the whales should have been left to die or released to die. I know that isn't what you mean but the action you are proposing would amount to that. 

          It is my understanding that the situation with dolphins is similar on some levels and different on others. There is no doubt that some dolphins are mistreated and captured for the express purpose of performing. However, freeing them into the wild will likely result in their death. I would suggest thinking of an alternative option rather than repeating "free willy" over and over and yes, "Willy" is dead. 

        • MEM says:

          That's the big problem, when the catch these animals they animal eventually loses its ability to survive in the wild after adapting to captivity. It's so sad, the animals that are now captive, if they were to be freed stand little chance of surviving a long time in the wild or integrating with the other animals and finding the safety of a pod that would accept them. Humans are the worst thing to happen to nature, what a mess.

      • Anonymous says:

        Seriously. Willy was an Orca who was freed. She is dead now. There have been no successful attempts to free a large marine mammal into the while that I am aware of. I would be curious to know if anyone else is aware of any. So, while you may be against dolphinariums, freeing the dolphins is not a great suggestion given that they are likely to die if released.

      • Anonymous says:

        Maybe you should get your facts straight. Keiko was the name of the orca that died. Maybe  if it wasn't kept in such horrific conditions in Mexico and suffered all kinds of ailments due to that captivity it would of been a different story.  I certainly advocate letting all of the captive whales and dolphins be set free.  As a matter of fact they shouldn't have been caught in the first place.  Maybe if you posters actually do some research then you wouldn't make such uneducated comments such as the previous posters comments. Oh and if reading is too hard for you then why don't you watch The Cove or Blackfish? It may just open your eyes to the atrocities these beautiful creatures go through. They are basically dying for your entertainment!!!

      • Cheese Face says:

        God you're a simpleton. The point is these parks are a disgrace. If the animals hadn't been captured in the fist place we wouldn't have to worry about releasing them at all. Go and watch the documentary "The Cove" then tell me what you think about these places / prisons.

        I am advocating not capturing anymore wild animals and closing the hell holes that are currently holding them. Being released would most likely be reserved for those with a strong chance of survival. The rest could be better cared for and not constantly dry humped by a bunch of idiots who have no imagination.

        Are you advocating keeping them all captive for your enterainment?

         

    • Anonymous says:

      Exactly! Dolphins are in fact one of my favorite animals and because of this I refuse to visit any of these places. It disgusts me that these places were given permission to open in cayman whether they are tourist attractions or not. Knowing all of the details about what is done during the process of capturing these dolphins is soo sad.