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Rekindling the Waters: The Truth About Swimming with Dolphins [Paperback]

Leah Lemieux

Price: 11.99 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Book Description

11 Mar 2009
Dolphins have become one of the ocean's most sought-after creatures. Since antiquity, Dolphins have possessed an undeniable, mysterious and compelling allure for humankind, which in recent years has intensified, inspiring everything from New Age fervour to multi-million dollar theme parks. In our profit-driven age, suppliers are never far behind demand, and having discovered people will eagerly pay exorbitant sums for the opportunity to get close, lucrative captive "Dolphin-swim" attractions have sprung up in many tropical vacation destinations. A recent BBC poll found "Swimming with Dolphins" topping the list of "50 Things To Do Before You Die." Rekindling the Waters: The Truth About Swimming with Dolphins is an intimate exposé of this popular phenomenon, illuminating the little-known dark side of this increasingly controversial activity. What really lies behind the dolphins' smile may surprise you. Dolphins are among the world's most beloved and beleaguered creatures and a closer look reveals the shocking truth: how a whimsical or well-earned holiday excursion to swim with captive Dolphins can support horrendous suffering. An examination of the latest scientific research regarding Dolphin behaviour, intelligence, self-awareness and culture is presented, and this rich and diverse evidence raises dynamic ethical questions, eliciting a call for change in the way we regard and treat our fellow beings. Hope lies in shifting the underlying attitudes responsible for our participation in such harmful activities. As people realize the detrimental reality, it is hoped these harmful activities will cease. Rekindling the Waters: The Truth About Swimming with Dolphins is essential reading for anyone who loves dolphins. With Dolphins as a symbol for Nature, this book shows us that by rekindling a wiser and more respectful relationship with them, we take a vital step toward a better, kinder world.

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About the Author

Leah Lemieux has worked on and written about dolphin protection,educational and conservation issues since 1989, collaborating with individuals and NGOs from a number of countries, including the Jane Goodall Institute's Roots & Shoots Environmental and Humanitarian programme. Most recently she has contributed an essay on Cetaceans and Eco-tourism for The Encyclopaedia of Human- Animal Relationships (Greenwood, 2007).

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Amazon.com: 4.7 out of 5 stars  7 reviews
11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Rekindling the Waters 29 Nov 2009
By Mark J. Palmer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
Book Review: Rekindling the Waters: The Truth About Swimming with Dolphins by Leah Lemieux (2009 Troubador Publishing Ltd., UK, 354 pp)

By Mark J. Palmer
Associate Director
International Marine Mammal Project
Earth Island Institute
Berkeley, CA

Leah Lemieux has written a unique book about one person's close experiences with a group of captive dolphins, and the tragic consequences for those dolphins of their captivity. A manifesto for anti-captivity, Rekindling the Waters is an outspoken and eloquent plea for keeping dolphins wild and free in the oceans where they belong, not in concrete tanks doing stupid tricks for crowds at aquariums.

The first two-thirds of the book chronicle the author's years swimming and interacting with a group of captive bottlenose dolphins in Cuba, and the contrast with wild dolphins. Lemieux's experience with these dolphins, each with individual personalities, is completely unique. Virtually all people who experience dolphins do so only for a short time in an aquarium. Even staff of aquariums do not get to "know" their dolphins, as they spend most of their time trying to "train" the dolphins to do what people want - tricks. Dolphin researchers keep their dolphins at an academic distance, intent on learning specific answers to specific questions.

Lemieux, by contrast, swims with these dolphins on their terms. She takes great pains not to initiate contact, for example, allowing the dolphins to respond in their own time and on their own account. She details their reactions without trying to put a human face on dolphin behavior (although she is not always successful in this). And she spent years with these dolphins, on weeks-long vacations in Cuba where she had unique access to the dolphins and could readily interact with them without requiring them to eat or do tricks or demanding anything of them.

This section of the book is both enlightening and inspirational. Lemieux is lyrical in her discussions of her encounters with these dolphins. Sometimes, her prose gets a bit too purple and "new age" in places, but generally she describes in detail what she saw and felt, and her observations of her dolphin family presents a record few people will ever experience.

The last third is a detailed, documented discussion of the problems with keeping dolphins in captivity. Her experiences in Cuba with the captive dolphins brings her to the realization that the animals, despite have a large salt-water lagoon to live in (much larger by far than the average aquarium tank), cannot behave or live like true wild dolphins, free to swim for miles, feed themselves, and interact with a host of their own family members.

Lemieux outlines the problems of captivity, ranging from the mundane question of adequate nutrition to deeply philosophical questions about keeping such intelligent and unique animals in virtual slavery to serve our baser instincts.

More and more people are questioning the keeping of dolphins in captivity. The last dolphin shows shut down several years ago in the British Isles, while the US aquarium industry, while thriving, has more and more turned away from dolphin shows to please the public, in favor of more education and more unique exhibits of marine life such as jelly fish and coral reefs.

But captive dolphins are still a thriving industry, especially tacky and dangerous "swim with dolphins" programs in vacation resorts that threaten the health and welfare of both dolphin and human participants, mostly in Third World countries with little incentive to implement conservation measures. Indeed, most of the captive dolphins are caught by methods that kill many dolphins, including the horrendous "drive fisheries" in places like Japan and the Solomon Islands, where dolphin traffickers take advantage of local people to pick out "show quality" dolphins - hundreds of others are butchered for the meat market.

Lemieux's Rekindling the Waters is an excellent eye-opening critique of the captive dolphin trade.
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Buy this book - do it for the dolphins! 19 July 2009
By Suzanne Chisholm - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
This book is a must for anyone who is curious about dolphins and the seas in which they swim. "Rekindling the Waters: The Truth About Swimming with Dolphins" is part love story, part wake-up call, and wholly engaging. A lifelong lover of dolphins, Leah Lemieux takes the reader on a two-decade long journey into the lives of a family of dolphins in a captive facility in Cuba. Lemieux has incredible access to the dolphins, and as she beautifully and intimately chronicles their tough and troubled lives over the course of many visits to Cuba, you can't help but feel awe, amazement and empathy for these sociable creatures from the sea. It's easy to see why people fall in love with dolphins, but not as easy to try to figure out how humans can best express that love, and manage their desires to be close to dolphins in ways that respect the dolphin. For most people, the easiest way to an up-close and personal dolphin encounter is through a captive "swim with the dolphins" programs. But what toll does this captivity take on the dolphins? And what about the dolphins who languish away in small concrete enclosures, taken forcibly and often violently from their families, forced to live far from their ocean homes, simply so they can perform tricks for human eyes? Many people justify the presence of dolphins in captivity as a way to educate the public, and promote respect for the animals. But Lemieux writes, "You cannot teach respect by demonstrating such profound disrespect." After reading Lemieux's book, you will question the choices people make with respect to dolphins in captivity, and you will ask yourself how we humans can foster a healthier, happier, wild and free existence for the dolphins whom we love so much.

If you care about the other lives with whom we share the world, you will definitely want to read this book - again and again.
8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Lori Marino, PhD 5 Jan 2010
By Lori Marino - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
I have studied dolphins and whales for close to twenty years and, without a doubt, this book is the most powerful treatise on the ethics of dolphin captivity I have ever read! Lemieux presents a unique combination of gut-wrenching personal accounts and right-on-target scientific findings. This is a dual-approach that cannot be ignored. She melds authenticity with accurate current scientific information on dolphins in a way that pierces the heart of the matter. Dolphins are self-aware, highly sophisticated beings who do not belong in confinement. I challenge any thinking reader of this book to come away with a different conclusion. Lemieux makes it impossible to do so and, in the process, causes us to look deeper into who we are as a species and ask whether we like what we see. But there is hope and Lemieux's message is, ultimately, positive about the fact that we are, in the end, perfectly capable of changing our behavior to allow dolphins to live life on their own terms. It is up to us.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A must for anyone who is interested in dolphins, the ocean, and sentient beings other than humans! 17 Aug 2009
By Daniel Finnigan - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
This book shares the story of a young woman who becomes enchanted by the magnificent liquid world of dolphins. She makes a connection with four dolphins trapped in a Cuban dolphinarium, and quickly learns that there is much more to their social intelligence than first meets the eye. Through her vivid, poetic descriptions you are brought into the dolphin lagoon to experience this rare connection. You are carried with her on a voyage of discovery to see the dolphins as individuals, then realize they are wrongfully imprisoned by human greed. You are broken against human ignorance and drown in the truth of how evil our actions have been to these sentient beings. You are left understanding there is no question of their intelligence and self-awareness, and that imprisoning them is as morally wrong as denying the freedom of any individual. The book is a must read for anyone who wants to know more about dolphins, is interested in conservation, or is curious about the other conscious beings who share our planet. It will change your prospectives!
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Run or Swim - Don't walk - to Buy this Book! 13 Aug 2009
By Toni Mar - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
If anyone is even considering participating in a dolphin swim program; in the wild, in captivity .... or going to a public display marine park, do yourself a favor and read this well-written and researched book. It will not inform you but create a sense of awareness about dolphins and the natural world that you may not have access to elsewhere. Highly recommended (and I'm fussy!)!
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