Dolphins have inspired man through the ages. We find their
images on ancient pottery, mosaics, incorporated into
jewellery and in various writings from as far back as the
written word has been found.
They are the stuff that legend is made of. Maybe the fact
that they are marine mammals sets them apart from the other
creatures of the sea, or maybe it is their close affinity
with man and their tendency to seek him out. Anyone who has
been on a long boat trip will have noticed them playing in
his bow wave at some point..
Being mammals, they give birth to babies which are fully
formed, the calf is ready to swim with its mother almost
immediately. It is suckled, which means that it drinks its
mothers milk. It has lungs and breathes through a blowhole
in its head. It survives on milk , and then learns how to
eat small fish such as mackerel, mullet, octopus and squid.
Mothers nurture their children and never let them leave her
at least a year.
Dolphins like other dolphins. They are highly social and
live in groups, called pods. These can be mixed groups with
both males and females, or even groups of one sex only.
If any member of the group needs help or support it will be
given quickly, the others will go to its aid and push it up
to the surface to get it the oxygen that it needs.
behaviour is vital to the groups survival, they
communicate mainly (as far as we know) with a complicated
series of clicks and whistles. The experts are still unsure
how this language works, but individual dolphins undoubtedly
recognize each other and seem to have an individual logon
password or name.
To breathe when asleep,
the female bottle nose dolphin lies on the surface with her
blow hole exposed to the
air ; the male sleeps just
below the surface, rising
to breath as a reflex action.
The bottle-nosed dolphin mates in spring and summer, and 10
to 12 months later the female
gives birth underwater to a single calf.
Two or more midwives may help with the delivery and protect
the mother and calf from attack by sharks.
They may tug gently at the calves tail as it emerges and
whistle encouragement, then the mother and helpers gently
guide the calf to the surface for its first breath of air.
We have re-organized this dolphin
page to reflect the true state of affairs for dolphins in
Cyprus. For those who have visited long before will have
seen that the general info on Dolphins was the main theme of
the page, and that the Marine park in Ayia Napa (who
commissioned a site) Were advertising their product.
Dolphins and sea lions.
After the scandal. we left the
site (which was never paid for) up for about 8 years, at
our expense. Firstly to serve as a warning to other
exploiters and also as a simple record of what happened.
As wikipedia seems now only to
have pc facts, we have published this record here now.
Captive Dolphin Scandal
Wild Dolphin Scandal
I was guilty of neglect. In the late nineties we were to do a
web site, and advertise a new dolphin park at Nissi Beach which kept
dolphins and sea lions ....something we didn't feel too good about, however
the moral issues in the advertising business leave us little
choice for personal preference, as otherwise we would not
advertise handbags, fertilizer, supermarkets and a myriad of
products that cause suffering and death to many many
creatures including ourselves daily. The question of cuteness should not be a
factor - i.e. An intelligent dolphin or dog versus a
supposedly stupid chicken or rabbit. We abuse them all, but
are more likely to fire the public's imagination and
intervention with a cute creature.
We were very busy, and so did not actively pursue the owner
of the site for the material on dolphins that had been
promised. I went and inspected the site, it seemed on a par
with Port Elizabeth and was better than it might have been.
Sad in essence as the dolphins also could see the sea, but
the owner talked a caring brand of bullshit and we believed
him. We took the pictures from the local advertising
agency they used, put a half page advert on Window on Cyprus
and prepared a basic description of dolphins and dolphin
activities for this site. After about 8 months, we got round
to reviewing the situation and decided to go and take our
The photographer took her young children and some visiting
guests to the Marine park, but was late arriving for the
main show. She did however see the Sea Lions do their
performance, and she reported that it was entertaining and
that the sea lions seemed to enjoy it.
Next the dolphins were to swim with people, so she
photographed some of these 'rounds', but here noticed that
the advertised 'encounters with dolphins' were nothing more
than a fairground ride, with no real interaction between the
people who were paying £30 a swim. When she asked if the
guests could swim with them to enable her to get some more
interactive photo's she was heartened when the supervisor
said "No because the dolphins have their quota and will get
tired". She became more suspicious and disillusioned though when she saw the
take another lump of money from a newcomer to do exactly
Due to this report, we didn't run the new photo's, but tried
to contact the owner.....and then again due to pressure of
work, put it on the back shelf for later. This was a big
mistake of ours, with hindsight, we should have started a
fuss, but didn't.
The next time we spoke to anyone at the
park, we were told that there were only sea lion shows for a
while - which we put on the site. We were told that the
dolphins were having a rest.
As it turned out, this was because they were dead, something
we found out through a third party who wrote us a letter
asking why the Sea lion was left to die in the park on his
own. We sent someone up there immediately, and indeed there was a
poor solitary sea lion behind a locked gate, with a single Asian
man left to care for it. He told us that the vetinary
department had been informed and would arrive at 7pm that
Further investigation revealed that the owners ( or rather
the now pretend owners, as everyone seemed to be denying
involvement) had applied to the government for a license to
import 4 new dolphins. The dolphins it turned out were owned
by the Russian Academy of Science (RAS), the business that
procured ANMP's four now-dead dolphins -- along with two sea
lions and who originally claimed they were captive-bred, but
later "admitted ... the dolphins were, in fact, caught from
the Black Sea.
In granting Ayia Napa Marine Park (ANMP) a dolphin-import
permit on April 21, the Cabinet violated the letter of two
UN treaties -- the CITES treaty of 1973 and the 1982 Berne
Convention -- and the spirit of European Union Council
Regulation No.338/97. All protect endangered species,
including dolphins. They did grant the license though, but
after the stink that was kicked up, ( Brigitte Bardot wrote
to President Glafcos Clerides urging him not to allow the
Ayia Napa Marine Park (ANMP) to import more dolphins )
revoked the license (The Council's April 21 meeting's
minutes show it declared it was "necessary" to give ANMP
owner Kikis Constantinou permission to bring in four more
dolphins "for reasons of paying off invested capital" in the
(cynews.com/October/02/***.htm) Now defunct
A phone call to Kikis Constantinou from the Cyprus Weekly to
Mr. Constantinou, who is listed in the 1998 publication, The
Dolphin Traders , as one of the Ayia Napa Marine Park's
owners, yesterday denied having any connection with the
place or with the sea lion in captivity there. "I'm not
involved with the dolphinarium. I'm the owner of the land,"
he said, adding that the Marine Park's owner is "someone
from Nicosia, someone from Georgia..
The bottom line - we hope- is that dolphins or marine
mammals will not be allowed into Cyprus as Captives ever
The person we dealt with and didn't get
paid by, knows the truth and the truth is never pretty it
Again in 2002
A protest by local fisherman in Cyprus is highlighting
the true problem as we see it. There are not many fish left.
They seem to blame it on the dolphins !
The fishermen were demonstrating against the government's
refusal to grant them adequate compensation for damage
caused their nets by dolphins, and in anger at the
"indiscriminate" way fishing licences were being handed out.
They also want more space at harbours and said the president
had been aware of their demands "for at least three years."
"We are seen as the worst people in Cyprus," chipped in
Tassos Adamou, a fisherman from Zygi: "We work 20 or 22
hours a day just to make a living, while everybody else's
jobs are getting better."
The fishermen said they were not calling for the dolphins --
a protected species -- to be killed, but for the government
to find ways to stop dolphins and turtles from approaching
Nicos Stylianou from Paphos echoed his colleagues'
complaints: "Fishermen have a lot of problems, especially
with the dolphins. We're getting poorer and poorer. There
are less fish and the dolphins find it easier just to take
the ones we have caught in our nets."
He said there had always been dolphins around the island,
but that in the past there had been enough fish both to feed
the dolphins and turtles, and to fill the fishermen's catch.
The government had suggested the fishermen use a system of
bells on their nets to keep the dolphins away, but that this
had proved unsuccessful: "Dolphins are the cleverest
creatures. They were afraid of the bells in the beginning
but then just started to ignore them."
Marinos Kallogirou from Limassol said a sonar system that
emitted sounds "the dolphins find annoying" could provide an
answer, but that the systems were only sold through the
Agriculture Ministry and were very expensive.
"We want to use small amounts of dynamite to keep the
dolphins away, but because it is an illegal explosive, the
police won't let us. We asked them to accompany us when we
use it, but they don't want to," Stylianou said, adding that
the fishermen themselves could also be hurt if they did not
use the explosive properly.
"The government could help us a lot if they wanted to,"
Stylianou and Kallogirou agreed. The next step would be to
close off the harbours: "This will affect rich people too,
so maybe they will take notice then," Stylianou said.
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