“Humans think they are smarter than dolphins because we build cars and buildings and start wars etc., and all that dolphins do is swim in the water, eat fish and play around. Dolphins believe that they are smarter for exactly the same reasons.”Douglas Adams, author
The dolphins in Mandurah are the most natural ambassadors for Mandurah’s tourism. To those lucky enough to live in Mandurah, they are a familiar sight and part of the community that lives here.
From ancient seafarers in Greece to the current visitors and locals in Mandurah, the mere sight of a dolphin can bring a warm sense of adoration and respect from us. We feel truly priviledged when we enounter them. A seafarers journey in ancient times was considered to be a good sign of safe travels when accompanied by dolphins.
Dolphins are a highly complex social mammal – very much like us. They have an appreciation of their own individual identities. They like to communicate. They like to play and explore, and they are very curious.
When dolphins have been kept in captivity and been isolated from their pod, they have suffered similar effects on their mental health to what humans suffer. They can develop mental illness, often in a form that is very much like the clinical depression that human’s suffer.
We know that the dolphin’s brain is very much like ours because of the way the connections in their brain are ‘wired’. Scientific research has discovered that they have a complex memory function that enables them to remember details about their environment and feelings about other dolphins to help them distinguish which dolphins are their friends, and to recognise what is harmful or helpful in their world. Dolphins are known to have a sense of empathy for their fellow dolphins, allowing them to recognise how another dolphin is feeling.
Dolphins are able to experience a range of emotions, including love, anger, frustration, joy and grief. When the brains of dolphins have been measured and studied with MRI and EEG, the results suggested that this brain activity could best be described as intuition and empathy.
If you are fortunate to see dolphins while in Mandurah, remember while you are enjoying watching them, that they are emotional, thinking beings, just like you. The dolphins live here in Mandurah, so that gives you many opportunities to have a great experience while here.
For more articles about dolphins and their psychology, go to these links:
- National Geographic – Debunking Captivity: 3 Reasons Not to Keep Dolphins in a Tank
- Wikipedia – Animal psychopathology
- Science Norway – Can wild animals have mental illnesses?
- National Geographic – It’s Time for a Conversation
- Dolpinaris – Dolphins and their behaviour