Tuesday, June 13th, 9:30PM
Today we had some visitors from the Wall Street Journal come by to observe the facility. These people, husband and wife, are free-lance writers who often write about travel and stuff like that.
Today I got a local with Akeakamai in the first session. I was more than ready for her energetic style what I wasnt ready for was the husbandry session going on with Phoenix in the same tank. Kerry, the trainer, was very supportive and was a great person to deal with, but she was definitely worried about losing control of Ake. More than once she told me to try to calm her down, when I didnt see any real reason to do so. I suppose she did know better, but still, Ake was raring to go and I wasnt going to calm that down. I did as many jumps and high energy moves I could with her, but certain points in the husbandry session with Phoenix meant I had to keep the waves down. Too bad, I could tell Ake was more than willing to give a show. She did very well though, and I had a blast working with her, but I wish I could have done more.
As part of the tour for the Wall Street Journal people, Dr. Herman and Dr. Pack demonstrated a number of things that we dont see in regular sessions. Certain behaviors are put on "hold" to prevent the dolphins from getting confused when too many people use them and re-enforce the wrong things. This keeps the dolphins idea of the behaviors fresh for when they have to use the behaviors for research. As a result, certain things like creativity, tandem (meaning do something together with another dolphin), and some others specifics arent used in the regular training sessions. Dr. Herman demonstrated the cross-modal paradigm with Elele and Hiapo, the language paradigm with Akeakamai, the object-absence paradigm with Akeakamai, and the tandem/tandem-creative with Phoenix and Akeakamai. The language thing showed that Akeakamai could understand the difference in sentence syntax, meaning she can understand the difference between "take the left Frisbee to the surfboard" and "take the surfboard to the left Frisbee". It was really cool to see her do all those things right away and so enthusiastically. You could tell she was enjoying doing it.
I asked Dr. Herman if I could get any pictures of the demo, but he said we shouldnt take pictures of research since it could be interpreted in the wrong way. I was surprised to hear that, since all the stuff they showed us today was already published and released to the public anyway. Ill ask him again on Thursday, when some other guy is coming from Singapore and theyll probably give another demo.
Oh well. It makes a great picture anyway. Darn, I shouldnt have signed that agreement not to sell pictures
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