Voices in the Ocean: A Journey into the Wild and Haunting World of Dolphins by Susan Casey

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If you’re like most twelve year old girls you love dolphins. They were my favorite animal from age eight to seventeen when I decided it wasn’t cool to like what everyone else liked. Nearly a decade later and I’ve rediscovered my love of dolphins. These amazing creatures deserve to be loved no matter what and not in the “I love it so much I want to keep it locked in a cage doing inane tricks for food” kind of love.

Voices in the Ocean: A Journey into the Wild and Haunting World of Dolphins was not what I expected. I expected more science and nature more about the basics of dolphins and their lives. What I got was more like how humans affect dolphins and how dolphins affect humans both in positive and negative ways. I learned about the deaths that each species has wreaked on the other due to a lack of knowledge and concern. I learned about the money we make from the misery and anguish of these animals.

“The scientists found that the dead whale’s liver was overloaded with mercury and DDT, off-the-charts levels of toxins. In the twenty-eight years since then, Baird has collected biopsies from forty other false killers and discovered a disturbing pattern: they’re all highly contaminated. They are saturated with PCBs, dioxins, flame retardants, heavy metals, pesticides—some of the most noxious carcinogens ever unleashed.”

So if you’re looking for something light and fluffy this may not be the book for you. However, if you’re looking to learn about the ways dolphins have affected humans and vice versa in a positive way and how you can help mitigate the negative ways we have affected each other then this would be a great book to start with.

Obviously this book had a clear message: stop being dicks to dolphins and other sea creatures. Yet still there will be people who don’t like it for that reason alone. It gave a mostly one-sided view of the situation, but it gave enough information about the other side to let me know that I don’t much care what the other side’s fuddled reasons are. If you are going to keep an animal in captivity (though you should find an alternative for this as well) it better be the best captivity you can possibly manage and the education given through that captivity better be as accurate and informative as possible. There is no excuse for enslaving an animal for party tricks and not at least giving accurate information about your slave.

“How do you think humans got so cruel?” I asked Makili. He gazed at the ocean, then back at Turner and me. “We forgot,” he said, letting the words linger. “We forgot our responsibility. And we forgot that we are as equal as any living thing within the chain. There’s no hierarchy in this. Nah. We are part of the same family: living things. All the rest of it is just totally fucking bullshit.” 

Spotted Dolphins. This book comes with pictures!

And this nature-friendly book doesn’t stop with just breaking your heart it also wants to fill your head with some really cool tidbits of information like this one:

“(A few years ago in Fushun, China, two dolphins ate strips of their tank’s vinyl lining and were saved by Bao Xishun, a 7′9″ Mongolian herdsman who appears in the Guinness Book of World Records as “The World’s Tallest Man.” When surgical tools failed, Xishun reached down the dolphins’ throats with his forty-two-inch arms and extracted the plastic.)”

I also got to learn about dolphin species and some of their natural behaviors. For example, Orcas also known as Killer Whales are dolphins. Dolphins don’t breathe without thinking: they have to consciously decide to. This is important for them because they spend so much time underwater but can’t breathe water. If a fellow dolphin is unconscious his or her pod members will lift that dolphin to the surface so that it can breathe. Some people wonder why dolphins don’t have gills. Part of the reason is because they started out on land many millions of years ago and through evolution slowly migrated into the water.

So pick up Voices in the Oceanand learn about the wonderful world of dolphins and how people can do awesome things for them.

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