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1.0 - ABOUT
1.1 - The Author and Maintainer of Dolphin FAQ's at alt.animals.dolphins
1.2 - USEGROUP: Alt.Animals.Dolphins
1.3 - APPENDIX: Further Info

2.1 - How do dolphins sleep?
2.2 - How intelligent are dolphins?
2.3 - How do dolphins communicate and do they have their own language?
2.4 - How does dolphin sonar work?
2.5 - Can dolphins combine information from their sonar with their vision?
2.6 - What and how much do dolphins eat?
2.7 - How old can they get?
2.8 - Do dolphins live shorter in captivity?
2.9 - How did dolphins evolve?
2.10 - How can you interact with wild dolphins?
2.11 - Why do whales and dolphins beach themselves?
2.12 - How deep can a dolphin dive?
2.13 - How fast can a dolphin swim?
2.14 - Where can you find dolphins?
2.15 - Can dolphins live in fresh water?
2.16 - How do dolphins get their water?

3.1 - Where can you find out more about books, videos etc. about dolphins?
3.2 - Are there any fictional books starring dolphins?
3.3 - How can I find dolphin related Web sites?

4.1 - How many species of dolphins are there?
4.2a - What is the dolphin species seen in most oceanaria?
4.2b - What species was the dolphin in the Flipper series?
4.3 - What is the largest dolphin?
4.4 - What is the smallest dolphin species?
4.5 - What is the difference between dolphins and porpoises?
4.6 - What are cetaceans?
4.7 - Are dolphins endangered?
4.8 - An overview of the species of whales and dolphins (the order Cetacea)

5.0 - Where can you work with dolphins or other marine mammals?

6.0 - Where can you swim with dolphins?

7.0 - Where can you see whales and dolphins in the wild?

8.0 - Where can you find information on Dolphin Assisted Therapy?

9.0 - How can you adopt a dolphin or whale?


2.1 - How do dolphins sleep?

Dolphins have to be conscious to breath (Williams et al, 1990). This means that they cannot go into a full deep sleep, because then they would suffocate. Dolphins have "solved" that by letting one half of their brain sleep at a time. This has been determined by doing EEG studies on dolphins. Dolphins sleep about 8 hours day in this fashion. REM (Rapid Eye Movement) sleep, usually associated with dreaming has been recorded only very rarely. Some scientists claim dolphins do not have REM sleep at all.

A dolphin's behavior when sleeping/resting depends on the circumstances and possibly on individual preferences. They can either: - swim slowly and surface every now and then for a breath - rest at the surface with their blowhole exposed - rest on the bottom (in shallow water) and rise to the surface every now and then to breath.

sources: S.H Ridgway (1990) The Central Nervous System of the Bottlenose Dolphin, in S. Leatherwood and R.R. Reeves: The Bottlenose Dolphin, pp. 69-97, Academic Press

Th.D. Williams, A.L. Williams and M. Stoskopf (1990) Marine Mammal Anesthesia. In: L.A. Dierauf (ed.): Handbook of Marine Mammal Medicine: Health, Disease and Rehabilitation, pp. 175-191 CRC Press, Boca Raton

2.2 - How intelligent are dolphins?

The short answer to this is that we do not know. There is no reliable method to measure intelligence in humans across cultures, so it is not surprising that comparing humans, dolphins, apes, dogs, etc. is impossible. There are some indications of their potential: they are fast learners and can generalize (which is also true of pigs, BTW). Also they can learn to understand complicated language-like commands (which is also true of the great apes).

2.3 - How do dolphins communicate; do they have their own language?

Dolphins communicate mainly by means of sounds. These sounds include whistles, but also so-called pulsed sounds, which are often described as squawks, barks, rasps, etc. But they also use breaching (jumping and falling back into the water with a loud splash) and pectoral fin (or flipper) and tail (or fluke) slaps (hitting the flipper or fluke on the water surface). Body posturing and jaw popping also have a role in communication. This list is not exhaustive.

As for language, we do not know if they have one. Several studies have demonstrated that dolphins can understand a structured language like ours. This same has been demonstrated for a number of other animals species as well (gorilla, bonobo, California sea lion, parrot). Some studies also indicate that dolphin vocalizations are complex enough to support some form of language. However, to date it has not been demonstrated yet that they indeed use a language for communication among themselves.

2.4 - How does dolphin sonar work?

Dolphins (and other toothed whales) can produce high pitched clicks. When these clicks hit an object, some of the sound will echo back to the "sender". By listening to the echo and interpreting the time it took before the echo came back, the dolphin estimate the distance of the object. (That's why sonar is also called echolocation: with information from the echoes, a dolphin can locate an object). Depending on the material the object is made of, part of the sound may penetrate into the object and reflect off internal structure. If the object is a fish, some sound will reflect off the skin on the dolphin's side, some of the bones, the internal organs and the skin on the other side. So one click can result in a number of (weaker) echoes. This will give the dolphin some information about the structure and size of the fish. By moving its head (thereby aiming the clicks at other parts of the fish) the dolphin can get more information on other parts of the fish.

It is like a medical ultrasound probe, but the results are far less clear. A medical probe moves back and forth very rapidly, much faster than a dolphin can move its head. Also the frequency of the sounds of the medical probe is much higher than a dolphin's sonar. Therefore the level of detail the echoes can provide is much higher in the medical probe.

For technical information on dolphin sonar, check out the following book: W.W.L.Au (1993) The sonar of dolphins. (Springer-Verlag New York).

2.5 - Can dolphins combine information from their sonar with their vision?

The short answer is: yes, they can. Just like people can visualize an object by just touching it, dolphins can get an idea of what an object looks like by scanning it with their sonar. They can also identify objects with their sonar that they have only been able to see. If they form a visual picture from the sonar information (visualization) or form an acoustical picture from visual information is still unresolved. This capability is called cross-modal transfer and it has been demonstrated in only a few animal species so far: the bottlenose dolphin and the California sea lion. See the following references for more details on this subject.

R.J. Schusterman, D. Kastak and C. Reichmuth (1995) Equivalence class formation and cross-modal transfer: testing marine mammals.

In: R.A. Kastelein, J.A. Thomas and P.E. Nachtigall (eds): Sensory systems of Aquatic Mammals, pp. 579-584 De Spil Publishers, Woerden, the Netherlands ISBN 90-72743-05-9

A.A. Pack and L.M. Herman (1995) Sensory integration in the bottlenosed dolphin: Immediate recognition of complex shapes across the senses of echolocation and vision

J. Acoustical Society of America 98(2) Part 1: 722-733

2.6 - What and how much do dolphins eat?

Bottlenose dolphins eat several kinds of fish (including mullet, mackerel, herring, cod) and squid. The compostion of the diet depends very much on what is available in the area they live in and also on the season.

The amount of fish they eat depends on the fish species they are feeding on: mackerel and herring have a very high fat content and consequently have a high caloric value, whereas squid has a very low caloric value, so to get the same energy intake (calories) they will need to eat much more if they feed on squid than if they feed on mackerel or herring.

On average an adult dolphin will eat 4-9% of its body weight in fish, so a 250 kg (550 lb) dolphin will eat 10-22.5 kg (22-50 lb) fish per day.

2.7 - How old can they get?

The maximum age for bottlenose dolphins is between 40 and 50 years. The average age a dolphin can get (the life expectancy) can be calculated from the Annual Survival Rate (the percentage of animals alive at a certain point, that is still alive one year later). For the dolphin population in Sarasota Bay, the ASR has been measured to be about 0.961. This yields a life expectancy of about 25 years. For the population in the Indian/Banana River area, the ASR is between 0.908 and 0.931.

This yields a life expectance between 10.3 and 14 years. So the actual life expectancy differs per region.

sources: R.S. Wells and M.D. Scott (1990) Estimating bottlenose dolphin population parameters from individual identification and capture-release techniques. Report International Whaling Commission (Special Issue 12): 407-415

S.L.Hersch, D.K.Odell, E.D.Asper (1990) Bottlenose dolphin mortality patterns in the Indian/Banana River System of Florida, in S. Leatherwood and R.R. Reeves: The Bottlenose Dolphin, pp. 155-164, Academic Press

2.8 - Do dolphins live shorter in captivity?

No. A recent study, comparing the survival of dolphins in captivity from 1940 through 1992 showed no significant difference in ASR between the "captive population" and the Sarasota Bay population. The ASR for the captive population was 0.944 (life expectancy: 17.4 years). Also in captivity dolphins have reached ages over 40 years.

source: R.J.Small and D.P.DeMaster (1995) Survival of five species of captive marine mammals. Marine Mammal Science 11(2):209-226.

2.9 - How did dolphins evolve?

The earliest recognizable cetaceans lived about 50 million years ago. These evolved from the Mesonychids: large land mammals, some of which were carnivorous, some herbivorous. The earliest cetaceans were members of the now extinct family Archaeoceti (the best known of which are Zeuglodon and Basilosaurus). 38-25 million years ago the Archaeoceti disappeared and were replaced by the early Odontocetes (toothed whales) and Mysticetes (baleen whales). The earliest dolphins appeared in the late Miocene period, some 11 million years ago.

The land animals that are closest to whales and dolphins are the Ungulates (hoofed animals). This was determined among others by comparing the structure of body proteins.

source: P.G.H.Evans (1987) The Natural History of Whales and Dolphins. Christoper Helm Publishers, London.

2.10 - How can you interact with wild dolphins?

When swimming, boating or snorkling in certain areas you can encounter wild dolphins. Keep in mind that in the US it is illegal to directly approach dolphins. If dolphins come towards you and choose to interact, that is allowed. In several areas there are boat operators that can take you to areas where there is a good chance to encounter dolphins (Florida, Bahamas). A note of warning: there have been operators that have tried to lure dolphins by feeding them. This is illegal in the US and is highly undesirable, because it changes the dolphins' behavior. Currently there are operators offering bird-feeding tours. These bird feedings take place in areas frequented by dolphins and are an attempt to circumvent the dolphin feeding ban. Do not use these operators.

2.11 - Why do whales and dolphins beach themselves?

If a single whale or dolphin strands, it usually is a very sick (and exhausted) animal. Such an animal often has some infections (pneumonia is almost always one of them) and a lot of parasites (worms in the nasal passages are very common). Sometimes these animals can be rehabilitated, but often they are so sick they won't make it.

Some species of whales and dolphins occassionally strand in groups. A stranding of 2 or more animals is usually called a mass stranding. There are a number of theories that try to explain the occurrence of mass strandings. No theory can adequately explain all of them. In some cases it will be a combination of causes. The most common explanations are:

- deep water animals (the species that most often are the victim of mass strandings) can not "see" a sloping sandy beach properly with its sonar. They detect the beach only when they are almost stranded already and they will panic and run aground.

source: W.H. Dudok van Heel (1962): Sound and Cetacea. Neth. J. Sea Res. 1: 407-507

- whales and dolphins may be navigating by the earth's magnetic field. When the magnetic field is disturbed (this occurs at certain locations) the animals get lost and may run into a beach.

source: M. Klinowska (1985): Cetacean live stranding sites relate to geomagnetic topography. Aquatic Mammals 11(1): 27-32

- in some highly social species, the group leader may be sick and wash ashore. The other members try to stay close and may strand with the group leader. source:

F.D. Robson (?) The way of the whale: why they strand. (unpublished manuscript)

- when under severe stress or in panic, the animals may fall back to the behavior of their early ancestors and run to shore to find safety.

source: F.G. Wood (1979)

The cetacean stranding phenomena: a hypothesis. In: J.B. Geraci and D.J. St. Aubin: Biology of marine mammals: Insights through strandings. Marine Mammal Commission report no: MMC-77/13: pp. 129-188

2.12 - How deep can dolphins dive?

The deepest dive ever recorded for a bottlenose dolphin was a 300 meters (990 feet). This was accomplished by Tuffy, a dolphin trained by the US Navy. Most likely dolphins do not dive very deep, though. Many bottlenose dolphins live in fairly shallow water. In the Sarasota Bay area, the dolphins spend a considarable time in waters that are less than 2 meters (7 feet) deep.

Other whale and dolphin species are able to dive to much greater depths even. The pilot whale (Globicephala melaena) can dive to at least 600 meters (2000 feet) and a sperm whale (Physeter macrocephalus) has been found entangled in a cable at more that 900 meters (500 fathoms) depth.

Recent studies on the behavior of belugas (Delphinapterus leucas) has revealed that they regularly dive to depths of 800 meters. The deepest dive recorded of a beluga was to 1250 meters.

sources: F.G. Wood (1993) Marine mammals and man. R.B. Luce, Inc., Washington. E.J. Slijper (1979) Whales, 2nd edition. Cornell University Press, Ithaca, NY. (Revised re-issue of the 1958 publication: Walvissen, D.B. Centen, Amsterdam). R.S. Wells, A.B. Irvine and M.D. Scott (1980) The social ecology of inshore odontocetes. In: L.M. Herman (ed.): Cetacean Behavior. Mechanisms & functions, pp. 263-317. John Wiley & Sons, New York A.R. Martin (1996) Using satellite telemetry to aid the conservation and wise management of beluga (Delphinapterus leucas) populations subject to hunting. Paper presented at the 10th Annual Conference of the European Cetacean Society, March 11-13, 1996, Lisbon, Portugal.

2.13 - How fast can dolphins swim?

The dolphin's fast cruising speed (a travelling speed they can maintain for quite a while) is about 3-3.5 m/s (6-7 knots, 11 - 12.5 km/hr). They can reach speeds of up to 4.6 m/s (9.3 knots, 16.5 km/hr) while travelling in this fashion. When they move faster, they will start jumping clear of the water (porpoising). They are actually saving energy by jumping. When chased by a speedboat, dolphins have been clocked at speeds of 7.3 m/s (14.6 knots, 26.3 km/hr), which they maintained for about 1500 meters, leaping constantly.

Energetic studies have shown, that the most efficient travelling speed for dolphins is between 1.67 and 2.27 m/s (3.3-4.5 knots, 6.0-8.2 km/hr).

There have been reports of dolphins travelling at much higher speeds, but these refer to dolphins being pushed along by the bow wave of a speeding boat. They were getting a free ride (their speed relative to the surrounding water was low). It is possible that dolphins can reach speeds over 15 knots during very short bursts (like in preparation for a high jump), but they can't maintain that speed.

sources: D. Au and D. Weihs (1980) At high speeds dolphins save energy by leaping. Nature 284(5756): 548-550

T.M.Williams, W.A.Friedl, J.A. Haun, N.K.Chun (1993) Balancing power and speed in bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops truncatus) in: I.L. Boyd (ed.): Marine Mammals - Advances in behavioural and population biology, pp. 383-394. Symposia of the Zoological Society of London No. 66. Clarendon Press, Oxford

2.14 - Where can you find dolphins?

Whales and dolphins can be found in almost every sea and ocean, from the Arctic ocean, through the tropics all the way to the Antarctic. Each species however has its own prefered type of habitat. Some live cold water only, others in tropical oceans only. There are also species that can be found in a large variety of environments, like the bottlenose dolphins, killer whales and sperm whales.

source: P.G.H.Evans (1987) The Natural History of Whales and Dolphins. Christoper Helm Publishers, London.

2.15 - Can dolphins live in fresh water?

There are a number of dolphin species that live in fresh water. They all belong to the river dolphin families. These are: the Platanistidae (Ganges and Indus river dolphins), the Iniidae (the boto or Amazon river dolphin) and the Pontoporiidae (the baiji and the franciscana). There is one species that can be found both in fresh water (the Amazon river) and in coastal sea waters: the tucuxi (Sotalia fluviatilis). In general, salt water species don't do well in fresh water. They can survive for some time, but they will be come exhausted (since they have less buoyancy in fresh water) and after a while their skin will start to slough (like our own skin after spending a long time in the bathtub).

source: P.G.H.Evans (1987) The Natural History of Whales and Dolphins. Christoper Helm Publishers, London.

2.16 - How do dolphins get their water?

Most dolphins live in the ocean and the ocean water is too salty for them to drink. If they would drink sea water, they

would actually use more water trying to get rid of the salt than they drank in the first place. Most of their water they get from their food (fish and squid). Also, when they metabolize (burn) their fat, water is released in the process. Their kidneys are also adapted to retaining as much water as possible. Although they live in water, they have live as desert animals, since they have no direct source of drinkable water.


3.1 - Where can you find out more about books, videos etc. about dolphins?

There is an excellent list of books, videos and CDs on dolphins, which is put together by Trisha Lamb-Feuerstein. This list is updated on a regular basis. You can find that on the Web at the following URL: There is a searchable database at the site of the Dolphin Study Group of the National University of Singapore at: They also have a picture database at:

3.2 - Are there any fictional books starring dolphins?

Yes, there are quite a few. You can find them at the Web site mentioned above.

3.3 - How can I find dolphin related Web sites?

Most marine mammal Web sites are listed on the Marine Mammal Links page: This exhaustive list was compiled by Bill Lemus and is now maintained by Wesley Elsberry. Similar information (grouped by category) can be found at: Another good starting point is the Aquatic Resources section at the New England Aquarium site at:


4.1 - How many species of dolphins are there?

The family of dolphins (Delphinidae) consists of 32 different species. Closely related families (the white whales (Monodontidae) and river dolphins (Platanistidae) have 2 resp. 5 species).

4.2a - What is the dolphin species seen in most oceanaria?
4.2b - What species was the dolphin in the Flipper series?

The bottlenose dolphin (Tursiops truncatus)

4.3 - What is the largest dolphin?

The killer whale (Orcinus orca). Male killer whales can grow up to 9.6 m (31.5 ft).

4.4 - What is the smallest dolphin species?

There is not really one smallest species. The smallest species include: True dolphins (Delphinidae): Tucuxi (Sotalia fluviatilis) - 1.3 to 1.8 m Hector's dolphin (Cephalorhynchus hectori) - 1.2 to 1.5 m Black dolphin (Cephalorhynchus eutropia) - 1.2 to 1.7 m Commerson's dolphin (Cephalorhynchus commersonii) - 1.3 to 1.7 m

River dolphins (Platanistidae): Franciscana (Pontoporia blainvillei) - 1.3 to 1.7 m

Porpoises (Phocoenidae): Vaquita (Phocoena sinus) - 1.2 to 1.5 m Finless porpoise (Neophocaena phocaenoides) - 1.2 to 1.9 m

The tucuxi or Amazon dolphin (Sotalia fluviatilis). These dolphins grow to a maximum of 1.9 m (6.25 ft)

4.5 - What is the difference between dolphins and porpoises?

Dolphins and porpoises belong to different whale families. The most obvious differences are: - dolphins have a falcate (hook-shaped) dorsal fin, whereas porpoises have a triangular dorsal fin. - dolphins have conical teeth; the teeth of of porpoises are spatula shaped. - most dolphin species have a distinct beak. Porpoises don't, giving their head a more rounded, blunt shape.

4.6 - What are cetaceans?

Cetaceans is a collective term for whales, dolphins and porpoises. The name is derived from the scientific (Latin) name of these animals: Cetacea.

4.7 - Are whales and dolphins endangered?

For most species, the answer is probably "No", although it is very difficult to get a good estimate of the size of populations on these water living creatures. A number of species are endangered: the Indus river dolphin, the baiji (there are only about 100 left), the vaquita, the northern right whale and the blue whale. Another group of species is listed as "vulnerable" (which means that they are not in immediate danger of extinction, but also far from safe). These are: the Ganges river dolphin, the boto, the bowhead, the southern right whale, the sei whale, the fin whale and the humpback whale.

source: M. Klinowksa (1991) Dolphins, Porpoises and Whales of the World The IUCN Red Data Book IUCN, Gland, Switzerland and Cambridge, U.K.

4.8 An overview of the species of whales and dolphins

       (the order Cetacea)



Eubalaena glacialis northern right whale Eubalaena australis southern right whale Balaena mysticetus bowhead whale Caperea marginata pygmy right whale

family BALAENOPTERIDAE (FIN WHALES or RORQUAL WHALES) Balaenoptera musculus blue whale Balaenoptera physalus fin whale Balaenoptera borealis sei whale Balaenoptera edeni Bryde's whale Balaenoptera acutorostrata minke whale Megaptera novaeangliae humpback whale

family ESCHRICHTIIDAE (GRAY WHALES) Eschrichtius robustus gray whale


family PHYSETERIDAE (SPERM WHALES) Physeter macrocephalus sperm whale Kogia breviceps pygmy sperm whale Kogia simus dwarf sperm whale

family ZIPHIIDAE (BEAKED WHALES) Berardius bairdii Baird's beaked whale Berardius arnuxii Arnoux' beaked whale Tasmacetus shepherdi Shepherd's beaked whale Ziphius cavirostris Cuvier's beaked whale Hyperoodon ampullatus northern bottlenose whale Hyperoodon planifrons southern bottlenose whale Mesoplodon pacificus Longman's beaked whale Mesoplodon hectori Hector's beaked whale Mesoplodon mirus True's beaked whale Mesoplodon europaeus Gervais' beaked whale Mesoplodon ginkgodens ginkgo-toothed beaked whale Mesoplodon grayi Gray's beaked whale Mesoplodon carlhubbsi Hubbs' beaked whale Mesoplodon stejnegeri Stejneger's beaked whale Mesoplodon bowdoini Andrew's beaked whale Mesoplodon bidens Sowerby's beaked whale Mesoplodon layardii strap-toothed whale Mesoplodon densirostris Blainville's beaked whale Mesoplodon peruvianus Pygmy beaked whale Mesoplodon bahamondi Bahamonde's beaked whale

family DELPHINIDAE (DOLPHINS Steno bredanensis rough-toothed dolphin Sousa chinensis Indo-Pacific hump-backed dolphin Sousa teuszii Atlantic hump-backed dolphin Sotalia fluviatilis tucuxi Tursiops truncatus bottlenose dolphin Stenella longirostris spinner dolphin Stenella clymene clymene dolphin Stenella frontalis Atlantic spotted dolphin Stenella attenuata pantropical spotted dolphin Stenella coeruleoalba striped dolphin Delphinus delphis common dolphin Lagenodelphis hosei Fraser's dolphin Lagenorhynchus albirostris white-beaked dolphin Lagenorhynchus acutus Atlantic white-sided dolphin Lagenorhynchus obliquidens Pacific white-sided dolphin Lagenorhynchus obscurus dusky dolphin Lagenorhynchus australis Peale's dolphin Lagenorhynchus cruciger hourglass dolphin Cephalorhynchus commersonii Commerson's dolphin Cephalorhynchus heavisidii Heaviside's dolphin Cephalorhynchus eutropia black dolphin Cephalorhynchus hectori Hector's dolphin Lissodelphis borealis northern right whale dolphin Lissodelphis peronii southern right whale dolphin Grampus griseus Risso's dolphin Peponocephala electra melon-headed whale Feresa attenuata pygmy killer whale Pseudorca crassidens false killer whale Globicephala melaena long-finned pilot whale Globicephala macrorhynchus short-finned pilot whale Orcinus orca killer whale Orcaella brevirostris Irrawaddy dolphin

family MONODONTIDAE (WHITE WHALES) Delphinapterus leucas beluga, white whale Monodon monoceros narwhal

family PLATANISTIDAE (RIVER DOLPHINS) Platanista gangetica Ganges river dolphin Platanista minor Indus river dolphin Inia geoffrensis boto, Amazon river dolphin Lipotes vexillifer baiji, Yangtze river dolphin Pontoporia blainvillei franciscana, La Plata dolphin

family PHOCOENIDAE (PORPOISES) Phocoena phocoena harbor porpoise Phocoena sinus vaquita Phocoena dioptrica spectacled porpoise Phocoena spinnipinnis Burmeister's porpoise Neophocaena phocaenoides finless porpoise Phocoenoides dalli Dall's porpoise

main source: M. Klinowksa (1991) Dolphins, Porpoises and Whales of the World The IUCN Red Data Book IUCN, Gland, Switzerland and Cambridge, U.K.

5.0 - Where can you work with dolphins or other marine mammals?

For information about how to pursue a career in the marine mammal field, check out the Web Page on "Strategies for pursuing a career in marine mammal science" at: or through the Society for Marine Mammalogy web site at:

This text is taken from a brochure published by the Society for Marine Mammalogy and can be ordered from: Allen Press P.O.Box 1897 Lawrence, Kansas 66044-8897 (800) 627-0629

Here are the names and addresses of programs that have at least some internships or volunteer positions available involving marine mammals. The original list was compiled by Stacy Braslau-Schneck, who put a lot of work in to it. Her effort is gratefully acknowledged.

Aquarium for Wildlife Conservation Attn.: George Biedenbach/Training Department 610 Surf Avenue Brooklyn, NY 1124?

Aquarium of Niagara Falls Intern/Volunteer program 701 Whirlpool St. Niagara Falls, NY 14301

Atlantic Cetacean Research Center Intern/Volunteer Program 70 Thurston Point Road PO Box 1413 Gloucester, MA 01930

Belle Isle Zoo & Aquarium Intern/Volunteer Program PO Box 39 Royal Oak, MI 48068-0039

Center for Coastal Studies Intern Review Committee Box 1036 Provincetown, MA 02657 phone : (508) 487 3622 WWW page: e-mail :

Center for Marine Conservation Intern/Volunteer Program 1725 DeSales St., NW Washington, D.C. 20036

Cetacean Research Unit Intern/Volunteer Program PO Box 159 Gloucester, WA 01930

Chicago Zoological Park Brookfield Zoo Intern/Volunteer Program 3300 Golf Rd. Brookfield, IL 60513

EPCOT Center Trailer #251 Peter Cook Walt Disney World Co. P.O. Box 10,000 Lake Buena Vista, FL 32830-1000

Florida Dept. of Environmental Protection Florida Marine Research Institute Intern/Volunteer Program 100 8th Ave., S.E. St. Petersburg, FL 33701-5095

Kewalo Basin Marine Mammal Laboratory Krista Berkland, Intern Coordinator 1129 Ala Moana Blvd. Honolulu, HI 96814

Marine Mammal Research Program Intern/Volunteer Program Texas A&M University at Galveston Dept. of Fisheries and Wildlife 4700 Ave. U, Bldg. 303 Galveston, TX 77551 phone : (409) 740 4718 fax : (409) 740 4717 WWW page : e-mail :

Mirage Hotel Intern/Volunteer Program P.O. Box 7777 Las Vegas, NV 89177-0777

Mote Marine Lab c/o Education Coordinator 1600 Thompson Pkwy Sarasota, FL 34236 WWW page :

Mystic Marinelife Aquarium Intern/Volunteer Program 55 Coogan Boulevard Mystic, CT 06355-1997

National Aquarium in Baltimore Pier 3 501 E. Pratt Street Baltimore, MD 21202-3194

National Museum of Natural History Intern Coordinator, Education Office Room 212, MRC 158 Smithsonian Institution Washington, D.C. 20560

Friends of the National Zoo Research Traineeship Program National Zoological Park Washington, D.C. 20008

New England Aquarium Intern/Volunteer Program Central Wharf Boston, MA 02110-3399 WWW page : http://www.neaq/org/

Pacific Whale Foundation Intern/Volunteer Program Kealia Beach Plaza 101 N. Kihei Rd., Ste. 21 Kihei, HI 96753-8833

Pinniped Learning & Behavior Project Internships UCSC, Long Marine Lab 100 Shaffer Road Santa Cruz, CA 95060 phone : (408) 459-3345

San Antonio Zoological Gardens and Aquarium Education Coordinator 3903 N. St. Mary's St. San Antonio, TX 78212-3199

Theater of the Sea Intern/Volunteer Program P.O. Box 407 Islamorada, FL 33036

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Volunteer Program 1011 E. Tudor Road Anchorage, AK 99503

Waikiki Aquarium Intern/Volunteer Program 2777 Kalakaua Ave. Honolulu, HI 96815 WWW page :

Whale Museum Craig Snapp, Volunteer Coordinator 62 First Street North P.O. Box 945 Friday Harbor, WA 98250

Whale Research Group Dr. Jon Lien 230 Mount Scio Rd. Memorial University of Newfoundland St. John's, Newfoundland CANADA A1C 5S7

PAYING VOLUNTEER POSITIONS (*You* pay *them* to volunteer).

EarthWatch P.O. box 403 BR Watertown, MA 02272-9924 phone : (800) 776 8188 fax : (617) 926 8532 WWW page : e-mail : (EarthWatch USA) (EarthWatch Australia) (EarthWatch UK) (EarthWatch Japan)

University Research Expeditions Program (UREP) University of California Berkeley, CA 94720-6586 phone : (510)642-6586

Coastal Ecosystems Research Foundation 820-1111 Melville St. Vancouver, BC, Canada, V6E 3V6 phone : (604) 683-6511 email : =

WWW page :

Ecovolunteer Program WWW page :

6.0 - Where can you swim with dolphins?

*** The following facilities offer interactive programs with dolphins:

Dolphin Research Center MM 59 1/5 Highway US 1 Grassy Key, Florida 33050 phone : (305) 289-0002 WWW page :

Dolphins Plus 31 Corrine Place P.O. Box 2728 Key Largo, Florida 33037 phone : (305) 451-1993 WWW page :

Theatre of the Sea MM 84 1/5 Highway US 1 Islamorada, Florida 33036 phone : (305) 664-2431

Dolphin Quest c/o Hyatt Regency Waikoloa One Waikoloa Beach Road Kamuela, HI 96743 phone : (808) 885-1234, x1288

The Dolphin Experience P.O.Box F-2433 Freeport, Grand Bahama Island Bahamas phone : (809) 373-1250

Dolphin Reef Eilat P.O.P. 104 Eilat Israel

Dolphin Program Cancun, Mexico WWW page : e-mail :

*** The following operators offer interaction programs with wild dolphins. This is a rapidly growing industry and quite a number of new operators have appeared recently and no doubt some more will appear. Others may disappear. Always check with the operators well in advance, before finalizing your travel arrangements.

Capt. Vicki Impallomeni The Imp II Key West, Florida phone : (305) 294-9731

Capt. Ron Canning DolphinWatch P.O. Box 4821 Key West, Florida 33041 phone : (305) 294-6306

Dolphin Swim Rebecca Fitzgerald P.O.Box 8653 Santa Fe, NM 87504 phone : (505) 466 0579 (NOTE: operates in the Bahamas)

The Oceania Project P.O.Box 646 Byom Bay 2481, NSW Australia phone : +61 (66) 858128

Dolphin Encounters phone : (809) 363 1653 fax : (809) 363 1003 WWW page : e-mail : (NOTE: operates in the Bahamas)

Dolphin Synergy phone : (505) 986 1215 fax : (505) 986 1207 WWW page : (NOTE: operates in the Bahamas)

DreamTeam Wild Dolphin Adventures Dolphin Dream Foundation P.O.Box 63271 Indialantic, FL 32903 phone : (800) 741 5335 fax : (407) 676 0952 WWW page : e-mail :

Moonraker St. Aubins Way Sorrento, Victoria Australia phone : (059) 84 4211 mobile : 018 591 033 fax : (059) 84 4211 (NOTE: offers swims with dolphins and sea lions/fur seals)

7.0 Where can you see whales and dolphins in the wild?

There are quite a number of whale watching tour operators in many parts of the world. A comprehensive list is available on the Helsinki Whale Watching Web site at:

8.0 Where can you find information on Dolphin Assisted Therapy?

There are a few organizations that are involved in Dolphin Assisted Therapy and related research. The ones mentioned here have Web sites with a lot of information concerning dolphin assisted therapy. Review the Web sites first before contacting them with questions. You may well find the answers you need on their sites.

The AquaThought Foundation 15951 McGregor Blvd. Suite 2C Ft. Myers, FL 33908 phone : (941) 437-2958 fax : (941) 437-5461 WWW page : e-mail : - David Cole - Sunil Gupta

International Dolphin-Assisted Therapy and Research Association (IDRATA) This organization can be reached through the AquaThought Foundation

Human Dolphin Therapy 13615 S. Dixie Highway #523 Miami, FL 33176

The Virtual Dolphin Project, Inc. 27261 La Paz Road Suite D174 Laguna Niguel, CA. 92677 phone : (714)448-9718 fax : (714)448-9638 WWW page : e-mail : =A0

The Dolphin Circle P.O. Box 1426 Lake Stevens, WA 98258 phone : (425) 334 0272 fax : (425) 397 0775 WWW page : e-mail :

9.0 How can you adopt a dolphin or whale?

Following are some dolphin and whale adoption programs. Most provide a certificate, photo, chart, and quarterly newsletter.

This list was created by Trisha Lamb Feuerstein ( based on several sources, but a large portion of the information, especially Canadian information, was found in Patricia Corrigan's book "The Whale Watcher's Guide: Whale-Watching Trips in North America".

Contact the organizations or check out their Web sites if there is one for more information about the programs.


Whale Adoption Project International Wildlife Coalition

USA: 70 East Falmouth Highway East Falmouth, Massachusetts 02536 phone : (800) 548-8704, (508) 548-8328, (508) 564-9980 fax : (508) 548-8542

United Kingdom: P.O. Box 73 Hartfield East Sussex TN7 4EY

Canada: P.O. Box 461, Port Credit Postal Station Mississauga, Ontario L5G 4M1


Oceanic Project Dolphin Adopt-A-Wild-Dolphin Program Oceanic Society Expeditions Fort Mason Center, Building E San Francisco, California 94123 USA phone : (800) 326-7491, (415) 441-1106 fax : (415) 474-3395

Sponsor-a-Dolphin Program National Wildlife Federation catalogue USA phone : (800) 432-6564

Adopt A Dolphin Project Okeanos Ocean Research Foundation 431 East Main St. Riverhead, New York 11901-2550 USA phone : (516) 369-9840 fax : (516) 369-9826

Dolphin Sponsorship Kit International Marine Mammal Project Earth Island Institute 300 Broadway, Suite 28 San Francisco, California 94133 USA phone : (415) 788-3666 See also : Sea Creations (below)

The Jojo Dolphin Project P.O. Box 153 Providenciales Turks and Caicos Islands British West Indies phone : (809) 941-5617

Florida Marine Conservation Corp. 12295 Indian Mound Road Lake Worth, FL 33467 USA phone : (407) 683-9647

Adopt-a-Dolphin Project Whale and Dolphin Conservation Society Alexander House James Street West Bath BA1 2BT United Kingdom phone : 01225 334511

Adopt a Dolphin International Dolphin Watch North Ferrby E. Yorks HU14 3ET England

Adopt-a-Dolphin Program The Dolphin Research Institute, Inc. P.O. Box 1245 Frankston, Victoria Australia 3199 phone : 1800 631 812 e-mail :


Ancru Adoption Program PB 58, 8480 Andenes Norway fax : ( 47 ) 761 - 15610 WWW page :

Adopt-a-Whale Program National Wildlife Federation catalogue USA phone : (800) 432-6564

Orca Adoption Program The Whale Museum P.O. Box 945 Friday Harbor, Washington 98250 USA phone : (800) 946-7227, (206) 378-4710

The Orca Club Save The Whales P.O. Box 2397 Venice, California 90291 USA phone : (800) WHALE-65

Whale Adoption Program Vancouver Aquarium P.O. Box 3232 Vancouver, British Columbia V6B 3X8 Canada phone : (604) 685-2516 fax : (604) 631-2529 e-mail : WWW page : http://

Keiko Adoption Kit International Marine Mammal Project Earth Island Institute 300 Broadway, Suite 28 San Francisco, California 94133 USA phone : (800) 4-WHALES, (415) 788-3666

Adopt A Beluga St. Lawrence National Institute of Ecotoxicology 310 Avenue des Ursulines Rimouski Quebec G5L 3A1 Canada phone : (418) 724-1746

Adopt-a-Humpback-Whale Earthtrust Aikaki Mall Garden Ct. 25 Kaneohe Bay Drive Kailua, Oahu, Hawaii 96734 USA phone : (808) 254-2866 fax : (808) 254-6409

Adopt-a-Whale Project Pacific Whale Foundation Kealia Beach Plaza, Suite 21 101 North Kihei Road Kihei, Maui, Hawaii 96753 USA phone : (800) 942-5311 fax : (808) 879-2615

Humpback Whale Adoption/Project Megafam The Whale Conservation Institute 191 Weston Road Lincoln, Massachusetts 01773 phone : (617) 259-0423

Adopt A Fundy Whale Brier Island Ocean Study Westport Digby County, Nova Scotia B0V 1H0 Canada phone : (902) 839-2960

Know Your Rights The Whale Conservation Institute 191 Weston Road Lincoln, Massachusett 01773 USA phone : (617) 259-0423

Right Whale Adoption Program New England Aquarium Central Wharf Boston, Massachusetts 02110 USA phone : (617) 973-5294, (617) 973-6582

The Ocean Society 441 Ridgewater Drive Marietta, Georgia 30068, USA phone : (770) 977-1838

East Coast Ecosystems P.O. Box 36 Freeport, Nova Scotia Canada BOV 1B0

Adopt-A-Finback Whale Program Allied Whale College of the Atlantic Bar Harbour, Maine 04609 USA phone : (207) 288-5644 fax : (207) 288-4126 e-mail :

Adopt A Giant Mingan Island Cetacean Study Summer: 124 Bord de la Mer Longue-Pointe-de-Mingan Quebec G0G 1V0 Canada phone : (418) 949-2845 Winter: 285 rue Green St. Lambert Quebec J4P IT3 Canada phone : (514) 465-9176

Sea Creations Harbor Square Mall 134 Main Street Port Jefferson, NY 11777 phone : 1-800-471-8388 WWW page :

1.1 Author/Maintainer

Dolphin FAQ is maintained by Jaap van der Toorn ( The intention is to post the latest version of the FAQ on the news: alt.animals.dolphins newsgroup once a month.

Please direct any remarks, suggestion, corrections and additions to the above e-mail address.

1.2 - What is alt.animals.dolphins?

alt.animals.dolphins is an unmoderated newsgroup for anyone interested in dolphins. Unmoderated means that no-one is screening the messages before they are put on the newsgroup. As a result, you may occassionally see messages on that have nothing to do with dolphins. Usually these are advertisements for (often dubious) services and get-rich-fast schemes. The best way to deal with those is just to ignore them. Do not post follow-up messages and do not mail to the sender. This will only encourage them to post more messages in the future.

Topics that are suitable for this newsgroups include (but are not restricted to): requests for information, exchanges of experiences and ideas, news items etc. as long as they relate to dolphins and/or whales.

Do not post pictures in this newsgroup. These are usually large and this is not very polite to readers of the group that have to pay connection time fees. If you want to make pictures available through Usenet, post them in the designated newsgroup: You can then post a short announcement in this group that you have made them available there.

This group is not intended for lengthy discussion on political issues, even though these may deal with dolphins. A better platform for these discussions is the newsgroup talk.politics.animals.

For issues dealing with large whales, there is a sepatare newsgroup: alt.animals.whales. Not every provider forwards its messages, however.

1.3 Other information

This edition of Dolphin FAQ has been put into HTML form by ARRETEC the makers of DOLPHIN PHONE.