I have to say- I have a great love for the cetaceans; these often massive marine mammals have captured my interest ever since I saw a picture of a gigantic blue whale in my wildlife picture book at the age of eight. There are many things that really impress me about these animals, obviously what strikes you first is their sheer size, most cetaceans, with the obvious exception of most Dolphins (such as bottlenose, spinner and striped dolphin) and also some whales (such as beluga whales), are some of the biggest animals ever to exist on the planet- so most people are excited or even shocked by their size. But what draws me most to these animals, besides their beauty (a cetacean swimming through the ocean at more than 20 mph is a sight to behold!), is their intelligence; Dolphins alone have been sited by some scientists as being as intelligent, if not more, than a human being. To understand this, we need to understand that intelligence is the ability to learn; therefore I think that a Dolphins greatest strength is its amazing ability to learn, which is much larger than the ability of other animals- barring primates.
The reason for this is that if you can learn, then you do not need to be very specialised to survive in a particular environment- you can adapt to any environment, it also means you can develop new skills to help you survive (for example, communication- as humans we can learn the languages of other cultures and countries), and it also means that you can think ahead in situations and also remember techniques.
Dolphins are amazing creatures as a result; their brains are actually very similar to the human brain in terms of shape- they can communicate with each other via ultrasound, and studies have shown that the same species of Dolphins in different areas (this is especially true with orcas), have developed their own dialects- but this alone would not be such a feat (as we know same species of birds also develop different dialects), the thing is they can actually learn each others languages- some Dolphins even communicate with humans.
Some people have considered using Dolphins as living weapons due to their amazing ability to problem solve, as they could therefore be trained to find a particular object or area and also be trained any obstacles that could possibly stop them….but surely some of you say this would be condemning them to death, this is truly animal cruelty; but what you may fail to see is that we are condemning them already.
How?, well, we pollute their homes- millions of tonnes of waste are dumped into the sea every year- this waste, although it may not kill the Dolphins and whales directly, harms thousands of other marine life and therefore their food sources (such as fish, plankton and other marine life). As human beings, we are undoubtedly the most influential mammals on the planet- and we can use this influence to save the lives of many more creatures that share this pale blue dot with us as a home.
Recycling our waste is one of the ways we can do this, by ensuring that most of our waste is reused, not only do we ensure that it does not go into the sea, but we also ensure that it does not go into landfill sites and therefore affect the climate (due to toxic fumes and also affecting the growth of plants and then animals in turn).
A few weeks ago there was a petition going around attempting to stop the organisation SHELL from drilling for oil in the Arctic- this is the sort of thing that will spell certain death for much of our marine life, and especially our cetaceans (due to factors such as oil spills, human waste and also human interference in these locations)- I would therefore urge us, as a species that is responsible for most of the environmental problems occurring in the world- to stand up and sign petitions like this, attempt to stop us as a race from harming the earth any further and protesting against this.