Aquarium visits are chock full of photo ops of faceless humans, gazing into huge tanks marveling at God’s colorful creatures of the deep. I took today’s Faceless Friday image a couple of months ago, when my mom and kids joined me to visit the world’s largest aquarium in Atlanta. They were mesmerized as they stood at each wall of a looking glass. Even though I already included this photo on a field trip post, I was reminded of it this week when I watched “The Cove.”
“The Cove” is a shocking documentary about a small body of water in Taiji, Japan, which is the primary resource for dolphins that end up as career entertainers in aquariums throughout the world. Having worked at the South Carolina Aquarium, I know that there is controversy associated with animals in captivity, but I’ve seen first-hand how people can connect with animals and learn to respect them by seeing them up close at aquariums. Still, I was surprised to learn that the activist featured in this film started his career as dolphin trainer and was the inspiration for the 1960s TV series, “Flipper,” which my kids recently discovered on Netflix. (It’s like Scooby Doo, but with real people, and instead of a dog, the best friend of the “meddling kids” is a talented and jovial dolphin.)
So there’s that part of the story. And then there’s fate of the 20,000+ dolphins caught in this cove each year that are not chosen to become modern-day Flippers. Go watch this documentary. It won the 2009 Academy Award (Best Documentary) for a reason.
Enjoy the weekend, and stay cool with a swim!