As the Flipper granddaughter, Gypsi knows she reigns over what goes on during sessions. It’s very rare for her to decide she doesn’t want to hang out with humans, because she is one of our resident people watchers. She’ll spend hours eyeing up guests and then scream at staff members when they walk past the front lagoon. Since she is such a social butterfly, her trainers thought she’d be interested in switching up a few things in her day to say experiences. Something we do with all the dolphins, once we see what activities they prefer.
The trainers get in the water with the dolphins to work on their relationships as well as to see what new ideas they can come up with for mental and physical stimulation. During their interactions, the trainers noticed Gypsi’s eagerness to do imitations away from the dock or submerged platform. Since we want to make every experience fun and exciting for both the dolphins and human participants, Gypsi helped in our decision to incorporate more in water options. She has already mastered how to do the imitations, including having people swim on their back and kick their legs up and down while she does the same with her flukes. We really think she enjoys this switch from the usual submerged platform interactions.
She’s one of the first dolphins partaking in this, since it’s very much her style, but we’re slowly testing the different dolphins’ interest level. Obviously, their lagoon is their home and we want them to feel comfortable at all times. However, everything depends on what we see the dolphins enjoy. While Gypsi is the most interested, one day she decided she wasn’t into it. Instead of doing what she was asked, she’d swim away to join a friend at another dock or simply not do what she was asked. That’s perfectly fine. The dolphins’ interest level is DRC’s number one priority. Hanging out with a dolphin is fun, regardless of what you’re doing so Gypsi stuck to her usual way of playing with guests and all had a brilliant time!