Dolphins and Humans

Dolphins adapt well to human companionship and are readily trained. Bottle-nose dolphins have become well known performers in many aquariums; they are capable of spectacular tricks and may mimic the sounds of a few human words. Dolphins are also being studied by scientists and the military for possible use in undersea operations, but the U.S. Navy has dropped plans to use them to guard nuclear submarines.

Dolphins at one time were hunted commercially. Some flesh and blubber were used, but the main product obtained was a fine-quality oil that was extracted from the lower jaw of the dolphin. Although the oil remains highly prized as a lubricant for delicate watch mechanisms, similar and cheaper products are available from other sources, and commercial dolphin fishing is virtually nonexistent. Many dolphins have been destroyed inadvertently by commercial tuna fishers using purse nets. A tuna boycott pushed U. S. tuna canners to agree in 1990 to buy tuna only from boats that fish in area where the dolphins and tuna swim separately.

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