|The target pole is the instrument Luna's trainer is holding while she dives over. We have many of varying lengths and often the dolphins carry around shorter versions of this tool for fun.|
Luna comes from a family of target pole lovers. Her mom, Pandora, is known to beach herself on docks if she sees one she can get her flippers on. Her aunt, Calusa, swims around with one as if it’s a majorette’s baton. Obviously, it’s ingrained in this little girl to have a love for the training tool.
This makes it ever so special when she offers it up to her human family members. She’s done this on several occasions, often coming up to the seawall by the front lagoon and pushing it towards people she recognizes.
One day, a staff member went onto a dock to say hello to the dolphins in the front lagoon. Many whizzed by to see what was happening. However, Luna took a few minutes to come over and assess how familiar she was with her human friend. After a few seconds, she swam away. Thinking nothing of it, the staff member sat on the dock and waited to see if any of her flippered friends wanted to play. Then, Luna popped up with a target pole inches away from the dock.
We’ve learned never to take certain items from dolphins, even if they seem to be giving you the option of taking it away. Pandora and Calusa do not give up their favorite toys.. However, Luna released the pole from beneath her pectoral flipper and moved it closer to the dock. Out of respect, the staff member asked “Do you want me to take it?” and Luna backed away leaving the pole near her friend. Under Luna’s wishes, it was lifted out of the water and put on the dock followed by a huge applause for the oh-so-sweet dolphin!
She got very excited and did a victory lap around the lagoon. Afterwards, Luna proceeded to come back with a multitude of gifts. She brought up a mangrove pod, some leaves, and chunks of sea grass. Each time she was applauded and cheered for, she swam off to get something new. Luna absolutely adored the reinforcement she received for bringing the items up to the dock.