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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..

Ana Anastasova

I have never been to the dolphin magic but I have heard so many good things and that is an amazing place to visit. I'm trying to see if I can organise one night stay for me my partner and his two little girls at Coffs Harbour so I can take them to the dolphin magic and experience all the wonders and for myself to finally go and visit dolphin magic...

Lily

I absolutely love this place I went there for my b day I got to get a kiss from a dolphin and give it a checkup,swim with a dolphin,feed a dolphin,play with a seal,trail bells the dolphin and much much more I am a local and have been going here for years and never get tired of this amazing place and boy the animals are treated like royalty 🐬😄..

Lily bellamy

I absolutely love this place I came here for my 12 birthday and it was soooo amazing and special to me I got to swim with dolphins,kiss a seal and a dolphins,be a trainer for a day,the dolphins even sang happy birthday to me and it was so cute and I also got to feed the penguins 🐧 and give the dolphin a dental checkup I would definitely love to come back her another time even though I am a local ..

Angela and Mauri

We hosted our daughters 9th birthday party at Dolphin Marine Magic and cannot thank the staff enough for making it such a special day for all of us! Our lovely hostess Maddy looked after the 12 girls every needs, keeping them busy and answering all their questions about the animals and park and the food and pretty cup cakes were a nice suprise. During the Marine Presentation our daughter Jasmin go..

Bianca

Hi my name is Bianca. Dolphin Marine Magic is the most awesome place to go. If you want to feed the Peguins, Seals, Dolphins. When i save some money I'm going to have a very exciting experience with a water integration with a dolphin and a seal. I got to be apart of a fabulous show where I got to be on stage to feed a dolphin. It is the most awesome place to go. I love Dolphin Marine Magic and I w..

Jared

Never been to your place. Heard much about it and your swims for disabled people. Been to a dolphin feed but wasn't even allowed to touch the dolphin( tin can bay Qld ) as these were wild tame ones. Looked at your encounter prices and my heart sank. I can afford admission but not the encounter"swim" My parents have just moved to Nambucca heads from Harvey bay And will be heading over sometime next..

Rebecca Holloway

I come to Coffs every two years and have been for over 20 years. I have so many great memories of visiting dolphin marine magic with my parents and now I get to share that with my husband and two sons. It's such great value, great education and great family fun. This year we'll visit on my sons birthday in September!! Thank you so much - don't forget your son will get in free! Paige Sinclair CEO..

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