Helen, the Pacific white-sided dolphin in this exhibit was rescued after she had been entangled and injured by fixed fishing nets. Now she's working to save her wild counterparts from the same fate—by helping researchers understand how dolphins use their sonar (echolocation) to locate objects in the water. This research might one day lead to fishing nets and deterrent devices that will allow dolphins in the wild to avoid them.
This special training session is a chance to get an inside look at the busy and varied life of a marine mammal trainer, and the ways they interact with the dolphins. From health care to research to bonding activities, anything can happen during this program. Learn about some of the fundamentals of training—including the relationship of trust that trainers build with the animals, and why it’s so important to have these sessions.
We still know very little about Pacific white-sided dolphins. Until recently, Pacific white-sided dolphins spent much of their time far offshore making it difficult for researchers to study them on a regular basis, and even now that they’ve returned to coastal waters, we still have a lot to learn. Having a Pacific white-sided dolphin at the Aquarium gives researchers a chance to better understand them. It also gives our visitors the rare chance to see them up close and make intimate connections with them.
In this exhibit, the trainers and animals work on behaviours that keep dolphins mentally and physically active as well as healthy. These exercises also reinforce the bond that the dolphin has with their trainers which allows our care staff to ask the animal to voluntarily participate in their own health care and even ground breaking research projects. The trainers use positive reinforcement and reward the dolphin not just with food, but with tongue rubs, massages and whatever else the animal enjoys.
Learn even more about dolpins with our educational & entertaining programs
Our rescue program, an Ocean wise initiative, is also one of the largest rescue facilities in the world - rescuing, rehabilitating and releasing over 150 marine mammals each year.