Nov 12 2020
Episode 8 - The Ethics Of Swimming With Dolphins And Whales
In all of our extensive travels, some of the most meaningful encounters have been underwater in places including Mozambique, Tahiti, Indonesia and the Galápagos. These vibrant aquascapes are the settings for life-changing encounters with wondrous marine species that can shift our perspectives and priorities.Snorkeling and scuba diving around the world, we’ve been fortunate to swim with everything from whale sharks and dolphins to sea turtles, sea lions, manta rays and even a few (vegetarian) sharks—all totally wild, in their native habitats. But we’ve also witnessed dangerous and poor practices, too, from 50 tourists being allowed to jump off one boat into a pod of spinner dolphins off Oahu, to businesses profiting from keeping sea creatures in captivity. Knowing what we do about highly intelligent marine mammals makes these these situations totally unacceptable, and we want to spread awareness.We begin this episode hearing all about how underwater photographer (and children’s book author and entertainment industry executive) Pier Nirandara uses her compelling aquatic wildlife images to excite viewers about conservation. She also discusses her own boundaries and how she chooses excursion outfitters. Next, marine expert Frank Murphy, director of the Tetiaroa Society in Tahiti, shares his experiences with humpback whales as they make their annual migration past the atoll where resort guests of The Brando can safely observe them. And we connect with Chad D’Souza, general manager of Perth Wildlife Encounters, about their company’s long-running wild dolphin swims, which Eric experienced years ago but remain a highlight.We hope listeners will come away from this episode not only inspired to plan a life-affirming swim of their own, but confident that they can do so ethically, respectfully and sensitively. What’s more, we attempt to answer the question of whether the benefits to humans outweigh any potential risk or negatives for the wildlife, since we believe these firsthand experiences can directly result in an increased desire to support conservation.