Thursday, March 14, 2013

Luna Gives A Lesson

Luna showed Tursi she was a pro.
Luna is one of the tenacious three year olds that reside at Dolphin Research Center. At a very young age, she showed independence and maturity far beyond her years. She’s always ready to do something new and take the lead.

During a recent Dolphin Encounter, Luna was paired up with Tursi. Anyone who knows Tursi knows that she is a super mom. She loves to be in charge and keep her kids in check. She’s so good at it that she currently lives in the front lagoon with seven youngsters and no other moms.

We’ve nicknamed Tursi the “helicopter mom” of the facility because she always hovers over her kids. When it comes to Gambit, no matter what dock he’s stationed at or where he’s playing, Tursi knows exactly what’s going on. If she’s in the middle of a behavior or dorsal tow and sees her baby boy about to play with something she disapproves of, Tursi will swim up, snatch it, and keep on going. She’s stealth in her observation and sweeps.

As the resident helicopter mom, she’s thrilled to spend every day with all the kids. The youngsters learn a lot from their moms and baby sitters, but it seems that Luna took it upon herself to show up Tursi.

To begin every interactive session, the participants give the dolphins back rubs. It’s a nice way to say hello and become more comfortable with the marine mammals in front of them. On this session, Tursi went first. As she slid under the guests’ hands, she kept missing the last two people in the line. When Luna was asked to go, she made sure she got everyone and came back to her trainer with a triumphant smile plastered on her face. You could almost hear her say to Tursi that she did exactly what she was asked to do.

The rest of the session continued in that fashion. At one point, Tursi swam away completely and Luna had a blast playing with the guests by herself. It turns out that Luna can hold her own on a program. The look on her beautiful, gray, face radiated pure glee as she finished the session. When it was time for the goodbye backrubs, Luna strutted and smiled as she made sure every single guest got a stellar farewell.