Singapore—Animal rights group Empty The Tanks posted a video of a dolphin on slamming its head repeatedly against the wall of a tank, reportedly at the Resorts World Sentosa (RWS) S.E.A Aquarium.
The video was filmed on December 1 and to date; the post has gone viral, shared more than 2,000 times.
In a caption accompanying the post, it says the footage was brought to the attention of the group by a supporter.
“This distressing behaviour is one of the many reasons dolphins do not belong in captivity.”
However, in the Daily Mail report, it says the video clip was filmed last year by a concerned member of the public, who then sent it to Empty The Tanks.
According to experts ‘boredom, neurosis or depression’ are the possible causes for why an animal would act out this way.
However, The Daily Mail also said that a spokesperson for SEA Aquarium, where there are over 20 dolphins in captivity for the Dolphin Island exhibit, could not confirm whether the video clip was captured there.
Rachel Carbary, who founded Empty the Tanks, told The Straits Times (ST) that a visitor to SEA Aquarium in 2018 saw the dolphin’s behaviour and filmed it.
“During his visit, he witnessed the disturbing dolphin behaviour seen in the video and chose to record it. We have shared this video on social media in the hope of bringing more attention to the plight of these sentient animals that continue to suffer in captivity.”
Marine mammal scientist Dr Naomi Rose from the Animal Welfare Institute explained that what the dolphin is doing in the clip is called stereotypy, which means a repeated act that has no overt purpose.
She says this kind of repetitive, pointless, even self-damaging behaviour is the essence of stereotypy.
But admits to ST it’s hard to say exactly what is going on though she insists it is a sign of poor emotional health.
Veterinarians from the Animal and Veterinary Service (AVS) at National Parks Board in Singapore went to see the dolphin pens at RWS on Thursday, December 5.
They did not witness any “abnormal” behaviour from the animals there, according to Dr Chua Tze Hoong, a group director at AVS.
RWS claims the behaviour of the dolphin was because of its ‘curiosity’ about its surroundings and people and that it is not that uncommon in dolphins.
In a statement to Coconuts Singapore, RSW said, “We are uncertain of the source of the video but we can share some natural behavioural traits of dolphins.
Dolphins have a natural curiosity about people and their surroundings. They are also very social and enjoy playing with other dolphins.
As part of their natural behaviour, they communicate with each other through echolocation, making high-pitched clicking sounds and other playful actions such as nudging objects using their rostrums to attract attention.” -/TISG
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