Dolphins in Key West

Dolphins: Non-Human Persons

Dolphins are magnificent creatures found in many areas around the globe. In fact, there are at least thirty-six known types of dolphins ranging in size from about ninety pounds to around eleven tons! The most commonly-known dolphin, the Bottlenose dolphin, has often been seen in blockbuster movies as well as performing in aquarium shows. It is even possible to swim with them in various locations around the world with professional dolphin trainers.

Being social creatures, dolphins stick together in groups known as pods. These pods serve as a means of protection, fulfill social needs for each member. Plus, having a little help makes catching thirty pounds of fish a day substantially easier. By working as a team, the pod can corral schools of fish tightly together before charging one by one through the mass of shimmering little morsels like a buffet line.

Dolphins are agile swimmers and have good vision above water as well as underwater.
Their hearing far surpasses that of a humans, being up to ten times better. To help navigate the seas-and the rivers for the freshwater species-dolphins rely on echolocation by bouncing sounds off distant objects to discern their size, distance, and even what the objects could be. This same tool is used for communicating with other members of the pod while submerged.

These water-bound mammals are so intelligent that many researchers and experts refer to them as "non-human persons" and should be given many of the same rights that humans enjoy, including not being killed or eaten. Not only are dolphins incredibly intelligent, but they are also emotionally intelligent. Like humans, dolphins actually have the capability to feel sadness and mourn their dead.

The ocean, with all its beauty, can be a treacherous place. Even with all of their intelligence, dolphins face a constant barrage of natural and man-made threats which are sometimes unavoidable. For dolphins there are constant threats of attack by sharks and other predators. Equally as harmful to their well-being are injuries sustained by boats and from fish hooks. Thankfully for them, dolphins come equipped with the ability to heal quickly. This sounds like every person's dream, but with such a potentially hostile environment it seems like a necessity for survival.

Humans have interacted with dolphins as long as they have been known. Dolphins have been seen as a symbol of good luck since the times of ancient Greece and these creatures continue to impress and inspire new research even today.