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Scientists try to measure dolphin ‘happiness’

Scientists try to measure dolphin 'happiness' 1

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Image Credit: CC BY 2.0 Curimedia Photography

What do dolphins really think of their trainers ?

A recent study aimed to find out how marine park dolphins actually felt about their life in captivity.

Observing how dolphins behave is one thing, but how can we tell what they are really thinking ?

To answer this question, scientists at a marine park in Paris spent three years conducting behavioral experiments and learning how to interpret the animals’ physical postures.

They ultimately concluded that what the dolphins looked forward to the most was interacting with a familiar human trainer. They would typically exhibit this excitement by ‘spy hopping’ – a behavior that involved peering above the water’s surface and looking towards where the trainers approached from.

They also seemed to become more active and spent more time towards the edges of the pool.

“We found a really interesting result – all dolphins look forward most to interacting with a familiar human,” said lead researcher Dr Isabella Clegg.

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“We’ve seen this same thing in other zoo animals and in farm animals.”

“Better human-animal bonds equals better welfare.”

Source: BBC News

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