Date: June 2005
Place: Sevastopol, Ukraine

These are several photos of the common bottlenose dolphins taken in the Sevastopol Dolphinarium in Crimea, Ukraine. I was there during my summer holidays in 2005.
Common bottlenose dolphin (Tursiops truncatus) is a well-known sea mammal from the Delphinidae family that takes part in the Cetacea order (comprises dolphins, porpoises, and whales). All dolphins are carnivorous beasts that can be met in oceans, seas and even rivers (river dolphins from the Platanistoidea superfamily). They live about 30 – 50 years. Dolphins travel in herds (“pods”) and communicate with each other by producing low frequency clicks and high frequency ultrasound whistles. The latter is used for echolocation (biosonar) to orient in the environment, find food, and other purposes. It works in the following way: a dolphin emits the directed ultrasound wave and listens for the return echo to analyze the location, remoteness, shape, structure and other characteristics of nearby objects.

Dolphins are considered to be one of the most intelligent animals on the planet. Among their most interesting abilities and skills investigated by scientists the following can be mentioned: good memory, comprehension of gestures, symbols and numerical values, object categorization, acoustic and behavioral mimicry, mirror self-recognition and many more. Some scientists studying Delphinidae even state that they have some sort of linguistic communication system – the Dolphin language.
The above-mentioned characteristics made humans show much interest in members of the Delphinidae family, especially in the bottlenose dolphins, and use them in various scopes. These playful creatures can be found performing in dolphin shows in specially designed Dolphinariums, like the one in the coastal city of Sevastopol, Ukraine. The existence of such facilities generates certain controversy: some people consider them to be closed as “actors” there have poor conditions and care, while others point out that Dolphinariums can serve as research, conservation and rehabilitation facilities for endangered species and injured individuals captured in nets or thrown on the shores. My personal opinion here is that Dolphinariums should be allowed to function only while respecting three obligatory conditions:
a) The primary mission and job of such facilities are to rescue and protect the threatened and endangered species of Cetacea;
b) There must be adequate conditions and suitable environment provided for the animals kept here on the basis of the latest research results;
c) After a certain period of rehabilitation and preparation of the animal for wild life it must be given freedom in order to support its population in the external environment.

Bottlenose dolphins are also widely used in military. They receive special training and are given tasks to locate and disable sea mines, deliver certain cargo, and detect enemy divers and stealth ships. In some cases dolphin’s natural abilities can be enhanced by special equipment for it to serve as real-time transmitter of reconnaissance information and a true soldier with damage-inflicting weaponry.
And finally, these sea mammals are quite famous for helping drowning people and saving their lives, participating in the animal-assisted therapy, assisting fishermen in driving fish right into their nets, and just being the stars of many books, movies, cartoons, television shows, video games, etc.

Truly, dolphin is a cute, intelligent, friendly, and helpful being that needs to be protected and cared about. So, why being the Master, when it is possible to become a Friend?...

If you enjoy reading about these adorable creatures, you can take a look at the poem “At the Dolphinarium” available on the blog “Alexander Iscenco – The Thoughts”.

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