News Item: Dolphin bites arm of 6-year-old boy at SeaWorld pool

ChrisK

Mouseketeer
Joined
Feb 25, 2006
ORLANDO -- A juvenile dolphin may be heading back to school after biting a 6-year-old Georgia boy Sunday night at SeaWorld Orlando's dolphin-petting attraction, Dolphin Cove.

The dolphin emerged from the pool and grabbed Brandon Jackson's left arm, though its teeth didn't break the child's skin, his mother, Brenda Harris of Valdosta, Ga., said Tuesday. She said she had to beat on the animal's snout until it let go.

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SeaWorld spokeswoman Becca Bides said the dolphin would be watched and might be retrained in a "behavioral-modification" program, normal for what she called a "rare" and minor incident.

The family was given a private dolphin viewing and was offered four tickets for a return visit.

"He's got a bruised arm. He's going to be fine," Harris said. "He doesn't want to see dolphins anymore."

http://www.orlandosentinel.com/news/local/orange/orl-mcfbriefs02_306aug02,0,2622835.story?coll=orl-home-headlines
 

gshumaker

DIS Veteran
Joined
May 26, 2006
They tell you that the dolphins will bite especially when you are holding dead fish in your hands feeding them and those teeth look VERY sharp!!!
 

wendy46001

Mouseketeer<br><font color=purple>Dont get me wron
Joined
Jul 5, 2006
Not to sound heartless, but maybe now people will read the signs and drop the fish into the dolphins mouth instead of pulling it away so they can rub them....lots of people have been nipped in the past....this is the first time i've seen a big deal made out of it...most people are like "my bad" i'll give them the fish now.......
 

Ted and Holly

This login is used by Ted only, please refer to Ju
Joined
Oct 12, 2000
Wait... they didn't sue? There is hope for this World afterall!

People have to remember that these animals are predators. They may be able to be trained and somewhat domesticated, but they still have their own ideas of how to live their lives... Well, within the limits of the SW pools.

Ted
 

iHEARTflorida

DIS Veteran
Joined
Jun 18, 2006
huh i dont get that i thought the kid was at Discovery Cove n the water with the dolphins swimming with em.and you guys are saying hes was feeding him. what at Discovery cove feeding him, in or out of the water????
 

Ted and Holly

This login is used by Ted only, please refer to Ju
Joined
Oct 12, 2000
From what I have seen, you stand waist deep in the water and the dolphins swim up to you. You pet and feed them. I believe there is a part of the encounter where they will swim in a circle and you can hold onto their dorsal fin and be towed around the pool.
 

Dislifer

DIS Veteran
Joined
Jan 16, 2005
Geez!!! Now I'm scared!!! We're suppose to be going swimming with the dolphins next week!!!!!!!!!!!1
Ugh!!!!!!!
 
  • FlaNative

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Apr 19, 2006
    ChrisK said:
    He was at Dolphin Cove inside Seaworld, not Discovery Cove.
    Dolphin Cove is where you feed the dolphins, near the ray tank. You lean against the wall, hang your expensive fish, feed the dolphins. It's in the 'Key West' part of the park.
    Big difference. The fins at Discovery Cove must be picked to be very good with people, unless their insurance underwriter is asleep.

    At Dolphin Cove, the trainers keep reminding the guests that these are semi wild untrained dolphins. I consider it their test tank. Around 10 10:30 each morning, the trainers are over in the secluded end behind the underwater viewing room, opposite the feeding wall. They feed and interact in what looks like "lets see which fins Will Do Stupid Pet Tricks For Food and amuse the humans". The fins with the right attitude I am sure get selected to be in the Big Show. The slow ones stay at Dolphin Cove and beg tourists for food.

    They should be trained to not nibble on kids, only to bite chunks out of Pooh size guests who can spare a little bear blubber. :teeth:
     

    MelanieC

    <font color=blue>BL II - Blue Team<br><font color=
    Joined
    Sep 28, 1999
    A few years back when DD was about 6 or so we were at the Sea World in Ohio (It's closed now). We were at the dolphin petting area. There were people squeezing in and way too many people crowded around the tank area. The girl next to my daughter got bit by the dolphin on her arm. There were teeth marks imprinted on her arm, but there was no blood or skin broken. DD was sort of feaked out at the time. I moved her away from the dolphin as fast as I could.

    Afterwards, I was suprised at how uncaring or concerned that the workers of Sea World seemed. Most of them were really young, mostly college aged. They didn't really seem to think it was a big deal or treat it with the respect and care I think it deserved. If it were my daughter I'd want them getting her to the medical station and having it checked out. To my knowledge they let the girl and her parents walk away from the exhibit without any appology or anything.

    It was totally fault of the kids and adults that were around the tank. Some of them were covering the blow hole of the dolphin and I'm sure he panicked and just reacted. It was my feeling at the time that the area should have had some kind of system where only so many people at a time were allowed to come around the dolphin pool. A few extra employees should have been standing there and it should have been more controlled. There were so many people there at the time that nothing was able to be controlled.

    I felt sorry for the dolphin.
     
  • the_princess

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Jul 8, 2006
    You can't predict what an animal will do. Even well-trained animals can get scared and bite. That's the risk you have to take if you want to be near them and that goes for dolpins as well. Of course a child gets scared but it doesn't sound like anything serious happed.
    Well, that's my opinion...;)
     

    cleo

    <font color=blue>Egyptian Beauty Queen<br><font co
    Joined
    Aug 28, 1999
    The girl next to my daughter got bit by the dolphin on her arm. There were teeth marks imprinted on her arm, but there was no blood or skin broken.
    If the skin isn't broken and there is no real injury, what would you like the medical staff to check? :confused3

    It was totally fault of the kids and adults that were around the tank. Some of them were covering the blow hole of the dolphin and I'm sure he panicked and just reacted.
    If someone came into your home and held their hand over your dog's mouth and nose so he couldn't breathe, would YOU apologize? I wouldn't. I'd ask them to have more respect for the animal. Walking away from the dolphins being mistreated was probably the best thing they could have done. I don't think SeaWorld are the ones that owe anyone an apology.
     

    the_princess

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Jul 8, 2006
    cleo said:
    If the skin isn't broken and there is no real injury, what would you like the medical staff to check? :confused3



    If someone came into your home and held their hand over your dog's mouth and nose so he couldn't breathe, would YOU apologize? I wouldn't. I'd ask them to have more respect for the animal. Walking away from the dolphins being mistreated was probably the best thing they could have done. I don't think SeaWorld are the ones that owe anyone an apology.
    I couldn't agree more!!!!
     

    Volkswagenphreak

    laughter is timeless, imagination has no age and d
    Joined
    Aug 24, 2006
    You know that really makes me sad to read about this.. Everyone needs to realise that these dolphins are wild animals and are unpredictable. Personally I have never been to the dolphin incounter but I would almost give anything to go. I actually havent been to Sea world for a really long time but anyways I am sure they have many warnings around advising you that they can bite and like someone else said people were not respecting the animals. So sorry to say this but I dont really feel bad for the people who get bit. You take that risk when you stick your hand into the water...
     

    LuluLovesDisney

    <font color=red>If you're not outraged, you're not
    Joined
    Feb 28, 2005
    Ted and Holly said:
    From what I have seen, you stand waist deep in the water and the dolphins swim up to you. You pet and feed them. I believe there is a part of the encounter where they will swim in a circle and you can hold onto their dorsal fin and be towed around the pool.
    FWIW, I swan with dolphins in Mexico, and they didn't do the dorsal fin thing and in fact told us that it hurts the dolphin and that it can actually damage their fin to have people pulling on it when they ride - that riding on a dolphin should only be attempted by those who are trained to balance with strong core muscles so they do not pull on the dolphin's fin.

    My experience swimming with dolphins was an awesome one - they were very affectionate and puppylike, nuzzling my arms and legs and even rolling over to have their bellies petted.

    I'd like to hear exactly what interaction the guests have with the dolphins in Discovery Cove before I can think about exactly how this happened. I'm glad the boy is doing well and hopefully these stories continue to be few and far between.
     

    JLTraveling

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Apr 3, 2005
    LuluLovesDisney said:
    FWIW, I swan with dolphins in Mexico, and they didn't do the dorsal fin thing and in fact told us that it hurts the dolphin and that it can actually damage their fin to have people pulling on it when they ride - that riding on a dolphin should only be attempted by those who are trained to balance with strong core muscles so they do not pull on the dolphin's fin.

    My experience swimming with dolphins was an awesome one - they were very affectionate and puppylike, nuzzling my arms and legs and even rolling over to have their bellies petted.

    I'd like to hear exactly what interaction the guests have with the dolphins in Discovery Cove before I can think about exactly how this happened. I'm glad the boy is doing well and hopefully these stories continue to be few and far between.
    I was an Educator at SeaWorld, and from my understanding the dorsal fin ride is safe for both dolphin and human as long as proper positioning is used. The Discovery Cove trainers take the time to instruct the group on the proper technique, then prior to each individual's ride, they position the rider carefully before letting the ride commence. However, just like a lot of topics, experts disagree. I'm not sure how big your group was in Mexico, or how long the tour, perhaps there wasn't time/staffing to do extensive instruction? Or perhaps that facility simply errs on the side of caution? I don't know, I don't claim to be an expert by any means.

    The boy who was bitten was at Dolphin Cove, which is located inside SeaWorld park, in the Key West area. That is a touch pool, with a waist-high railing. Guests are permitted to lean over the railing to feed and pet the dolphins. Most of my time as an Educator working that pool was spent policing the railing, looking for guests behaving in a manner dangerous to themselves or the dolphins. The rules of interaction are repeated over loudspeaker every 3 minutes during feeding and every 5-7 minutes during non-feed times. Guests are to drop or toss the fish into the dolphin's mouth, pet them only from behind the blowhole back, keep their feet flat on the ground, remove any dangling jewelry, etc. Unfortunately most people pay little attention to the rules. I used to see 10 or more guests per day dangling their toddlers over the pool or allowing them to sit on the wall with their feet hanging into the water. There are 2 educators plus several trainers monitoring the pool at all times, and as soon as a dangerous behavior is noticed, it is stopped.

    However, it is also repeated constantly that the animals are semi-wild, with razor sharp teeth. As another poster mentioned, there is an inherent risk whenever a guest puts his/her hands into the water. The risk is minimized to the best of SeaWorld's ability, but it cannot be fully erased.

    That being said, bites tend to be extremely minor and completely accidental. As you know, dolphins are exceptionally affectionate with humans and enjoy the interaction. The pool is extremely large, and the dolphins can easily leave the touching area whenever they choose. Any interactions are at the dolphins' discretion.

    Sounds to me like the boy just happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time (perhaps in between the dolphin and a fish being offered by another guest?), and got tagged. No damage done. First aid is always offered in these cases, although there really is no point as long as the skin isn't broken. A quick wash at the on-site hand washing facilities will take care of it.

    I hope this doesn't make anyone afraid of the dolphin interactions. I've been nipped myself a couple of times, and it just isn't a big deal. Dolphins are not monsters, they would never attack a person, and in my experience, as soon as they realize they have accidentally hit person, they pull back immediately.
     

    fonsy

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Sep 7, 2006
    When I was watching Animal Planet, aSteve Irwing show, he said something like "if the animal bites me is my fault, not the animal, i'm the one who's intruding in his habitat" Couldn't agree more. I'm so sad about Steve, he'll be missed. I know I'll miss him. :guilty:
     


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