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Sleeping Seals
Injured Seal
 

Caring For Our Animals

Each day at dolphin marine magic, 365 days a year, we devote hours of time to care for our animals.  

In August 2016 dolphin marine magic achieved accreditation through the Zoo and Aquarium Association our industries peak national body, the objectives of the accreditation program are assessed on: 

 

  • Professional standards for husbandry and animal care practices.
  • Maintain accurate animal and medical records.
  • Enhance the survival of species by the use of appropriate methods.
  • Maintain an appropriate, safe, and quality existence for animals kept in a captive environment.
  • Safety of humans, both staff and visitors, from injury and disease.
 

 

To find out more about the work that goes into caring our animals... read on


Feeding

One of the ways in which we provide important enrichment and stimulation to the animals at Dolphin Marine Magic is through training. Training can be as basic as teaching an animal to wait patiently while we move another animal to or from the same enclosure or be can complex as training an animal to voluntarily assist us in a medical procedure.

We train all the animals at the park using operate conditioning, where the animal receives some sort of reward for completing a behaviour when asked. This reward doesn’t have to be a fish... in some situations a pat, praise or even a toy maybe the reward that the animal prefers!

If an animal misunderstands or gives us an incorrect behaviour, we simply pay no attention to the animal until the animal has stopped the undesired behaviour. Just like children, animals can sometime misbehave looking for attention!

The Marine Mammal Specialists use whistles as markers to let the animals know they have completed a behaviour. The whistles have been conditioned so that even from a distance, the Marine Mammal Specialists can communicate to the animal “Good job! Come back and get a nice reward!”.


Health

The health and well being of all the animals at the park is monitored on a daily basis by the Marine Mammal Specialists who work with them and by our veterinarian. This includes recording the total diet eaten by each animal each day as well as taking health and behaviour observations.

The animals are also trained to assist us in their care and husbandry, such as climbing onto scales each fortnight to monitor their weight, laying down and presenting their body for an ultrasound, or even a voluntary donation of blood, just like we do when we visit the doctor!

In the rare event that our animals are unwell, Dolphin Marine Magic has network of marine mammal experts from all over the world who consult with our veterinarian on the animal health and well being. If required, Dolphin Marine Magic brings specialists to Australia... recently we had the world’s leading seal ophthalmic surgeon out from the United States to remove cataracts from the eyes of several of our oldest seals at the park.


Enrichment

Aside from their daily training, the animals at Dolphin Marine Magic also receive enrichment in the form a variety of toys which are given to them to play with each day. We have a huge selection of toys available for the Marine Mammal Specialists to chose from, including basic toys such as balls and chew ropes. We have moving toys, where their parts twist around and are chased when the animal plays with it and puzzle toys, where the animal has to play with it to get to something hidden inside, such as another toy or food.

In addition to the man made toys, many of the animals also like to play with more “natural” enrichment such as ice blocks or even fresh strands of kelp and seaweed.

The animals are just like us, in that they each have their own personalities with likes and dislikes. Not surprisingly, we quickly see which toys are the favourites of the different animals. Once the Marine Mammal Specialists know which toys the animals like, they will spend time devising new challenges for the animals, such as freezing a chew rope inside a block of ice giving the animals who like these toys a greater challenge.


Freetime

One of the animal’s favourite forms of enrichment at Dolphin Marine Magic takes place outside of operational hours and therefore isn't seen by guests visiting the park. Known affectionately by the Marine Mammal Specialists as “Freetime”, this enrichment session entails allowing groups of seals out of their usual areas to roam around the dolphin pool area and interact and play with the dolphins.

There is a noticeable increase in the excitement of the seals when they see the Marine Mammal Specialists preparing for freetime. Many of the younger seals will immediately run out of the pens and jump into the dolphin pool to start playing as soon as the gates are opened. For their part, the dolphins love chasing the seals around whilst the seals are in the water and follow them inquisitively from pool to pool as they swim around.

Even the older seals, who are a little too dignified to participate in the rough and tumble play with the dolphins, like to jump into the dolphin pool and swim around, even if it’s at a more leisurely pace! Some of the older seals like to explore the park and one, Cindy, often likes to wander down to the underwater viewing tunnel in our Solitary Reefs exhibit and watch the large fish swimming by the windows with wistful eyes!

 

Share your experience & win

Write a short story, upload a photo and you could WIN free entry to the park for you and your family.

Tami

I seen Bucky on sash on TV just now. What an amazing spirit. I feel blessed to be kissed by a trooper. Xoxo thank you Greg for sharing an amazing dolphin. I work with Fuji and I am glad we have a photo booth for people to keep the memories. Sometimes it is all you have. I love my kiss picture with Bucky. Thank you for your photo. Paige Sinclair CEO..

Katherine Thompson

This was my last visit to The pet Porpoise pool 35 years ago I was 7. we used to go every year when I was little and my grandmother getting kissed by a seal was the highlight of the day. I loved feeding the fairy penguins and my dream is to one day swim with the dolphins. I would love to win passes to marine magic to experience it again with my family. What great memories Katherine, we hope to w..

Bianca

My mum and I just spend the whole weekend at Pet Porpoise Pool, we travel from Tweed to Coffs just to see Buck and Zip, we love them and can't get enough. Already driven down 3 times this year, and every time it's amazing. And we loved seeing all 5 dolphins in the pool, Bella's a sneaky little thing! We got drenched by her plenty of times hahaha. Great to hear you enjoyed yourselves - Paige S..

Connie gotsis

I brought my daughter a few years ago and she absolutely loved it. The kisses from the dolphin and seal were her favourite part and she still talks about it till today. Now that I have my son we have decided to drive up again for Christmas and have booked her in for a shallow dolphin swim as her Christmas present. My daughter loves dolphins and we cannot wait to show my 15 month old...

Tony knight

It is very good..

Meredith

My last visit was a blustery day in August 1974, and we have photos of handshakes and feeding your lovely dolphins and seals. Now looking forward to bringing my kids to visit in early December! Can’t wait!..

Angela

Today i visited DMM and can not express enough how wonderful our day was. Together with my family i was able to share a shallow water experience with dolphins and seals. We were all able to receive kisses from both and feed penguins. I have been to other parks and swam with dolphins and seals but never have i been able to experience the magical encounter i had here today, all the while learning fa..

Isaac Ah Chee

This place is amazing i had the best experience of my life doing the ultimate dolphon experience and the staff were great too especially trainer Luke. I would love to work here when i am older thankyou for this awesome experince...

Amy Dye

My childhood adventure driving from Victoria to Queensland the one thing I still talk about to this day and to my children is meeting Zippy, Bucky and Calamity. Having the chance to shake fins, brush there teeth and to my disgust my mum got kissed by the seal. What am amazing experience every child should come and see the brilliant work done by all of the staff at Dolphin Marine Magic. In 5 weeks ..

Megan Karl

Our family have been visiting DMM.since 1973 and have enjoyed our visits and have watched it evolve into the great facility it is today. Always a pleasure to attend he sessssions and we recently had German visitors whose highlight of their holiday was to swim with the dolphins...

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