Thursday, March 19, 2015

Delta's Hidden Treasures

Delta is known for hiding toys under docks and in his lagoons.

Living in a natural environment off the Gulf of Mexico, there is always more going on under the water than there is above. Often, the dolphins bring up rocks, mangrove pods or sea grass. Other times, they resurface with hidden scarves or long lost toys. Somewhere underneath the murky water, there seems to be a dolphin treasure chest.

On occasion we are privy to the treasures hidden in the lagoons, especially when in the presence of gift givers like Delta. During a session, he randomly brought up an array of objects -- rocks, mangrove pods, dive rings, a target pole, and other fun items that he was hiding somewhere in the lagoon. As Delta emerged with more and more gifts, we began to hand them out to guests who were standingon the front seawall. A little girl was given a rock, while her father showed off his lump of seaweed. Others laughed as we handed them tiny strands of sea grass and a few leaves. When a new guest was given a dolphin present, Delta swam away to locate another one. Somehow, he had an endless supply of goodies to spare.

The next day, during an enrichment session, Delta began to hoard toys in the lagoon. Not sodiscreetly, he grabbed a ball and placed it under a floating dock. Stealing from his good friend, Cayo, he hid a target pole under the boardwalk. It began to be clear that there was a reason he was able to find so many gifts the day before: he had them stashed from other sessions! Although he had several eyes on him, he nonchalantly took the toys to different areas of the lagoon to save for later.
Delta isn’t the only dolphin who hoards toys. Louie  loves dive rings and is known for bringing up several of them at random moments. Pandora and Calusa hold onto their target poles and hula hoops for days. Pax and Talon knock balls into the mangroves and then either reclaim them later or watch their trainers dig them out. We want to always ensure that the dolphins have a great time, so we’re happy to let them keep the toys they enjoy the most. After all, their personal likes and interests are all what makes their dolphinalities so unique. 

As a nonprofit, our members help us keep the toys in the lagoons. Throughout the year, we are fortunate to receive new items along with donations to ensure the dolphins and sea lions are always amused and entertained. All of the toys are deemed dolphin safe to ensure that they provide tons of fun with no injury. These gifts continue to give as we share sweet stories about our flippered family members.