Marianne, July 2017
For a few years now, I have use to go in schools to speak about cetaceans and to increase awareness about captivity for children. I begin by explaining the differences with the shark, then between the dolphins and the whales.
There is often a keen and curious pupil who is proud to answer all my questions and who already has impressive knowledge for his age.
Then, I express my wish to see these animals “in the wild” and why I do not see them in any dolphinarium. I show a picture of a dolphin with a balloon on his nose, speaking about the sadness of this slavery live. A little girl interrupts me perplexed “but why dolphins do not like playing with the ball? “. Of course ! It’s obvious ! Who would not like to play with a ball from the point of view of a 6 year old girl? “Well, you’re right, maybe he likes it, because he has nothing else to do, he is cut off from his family, in a small space where his social life consists in making circus show to Fill his stomach. ”
The question is very relevant, Fabienne Delfour (Doctor in Cognitive Ethology) is currently supervising a doctoral student studying the welfare of dolphins in captivity, I don’t know much more but I am very curious about this study. I wonder how do dolphins feels performances in public? Do they distract them? Or no pleasure arises from these anti-natural exercises?
Then I explain “freediving”, a word still unknown at this age, and the technique of the monofin swimming. The kids have to recognize the whales that Alex shoot with his camera on a large image of all the cetaceans and they are rarely mistaken!
I also show them a film a little more explicit than pictures where I swim with dolphins and spermwhales.
After they must respond to a quiz on these animals and I give a paper of the association “C’est assez” that explains the life of a free dolphin compared to a life in captivity.
A little girl comes to see me with stars in his eyes “I want to do the same job later! “, I thought :” I understand you so much! “. Another one explains that hes mother has a huge scar on her arm because she was bitten by a shark … oops! Few minutes before I had tried to give the shark a more positive image with a picture of me close to a blue shark proving that the danger was very rare and involved very few species.
But what a pleasure every time to speak in front of small faces eager for knowledge and with questions full of common sense! The best reward comes from a boy who, one week after my intervention, had planned to go to the Parc Asterix (amusement park with a dolphinarium) and who told me: “I would tell my parents not to go and see the dolphins!”
My mother kindly made this video about my intervention in a school in Hyères:
With Alex we also took part in a conference at the exhibition “SAUVAGES” in Bordeaux which was intended to raise awareness of captivity. We had to be witnesses of our encounters with free animals but we also took the opportunity to denounce another form of animal exploitation, some whale watchers where money is more important than animal welfare (we have already spoken to you here).
Whether our experience and Alex’s photos allowed us to intervene with committed associations such as “30 Million d’amis“, “C’est assez” or “Sea Shepherd,” was a huge pride for me. My love for animals is visceral and I never feel as good as when I am surrounded by people who dedicate their lives to defend them.
Huge thanks to Thibault Sarny for having thought of us, to Christine Grandjean for her fight, to Jean Jacques Bruni and Marianne Arnaud to welcome me in their classes, to Ischka Luna for the photos and to my mother for her support, her availability and her presence!
Photos: Michèle Garance, Ischka Luna and Marianne Aventurier
Video: Michèle Garance