The Moscow Dolphinarium is one of the most popular entertainment places in Moscow! Children and adults enjoy visiting the Moscow Dolphinarium.
The Dolphinarium is an immense complex of buildings, including the pools for sea animals and a performance swimming pool equipped mainly for keeping and studying of dolphins, as well as training and performances. The dolphinarium is a kind of oceanarium.
A dolphin is a surprisingly intelligent animal. Its brain is similar to the brain of a human being. Some researchers strongly believe in the possibility of intelligent communication with dolphins by learning them a human language. Then dolphins will tell true and interesting stories about their life, the sunken ships, full of treasures, the enemy submarines and other mysteries of the depths of the sea. Meanwhile, dolphins and other sea actors show their talents performing for the excited spectators on the water stages in the different parts of the world.
The actual work with dolphins started in the 1970s. Then militaries thought whether it was possible to use dolphins for military purposes and turned to the university scientists. A real research centre was founded at Kazachiya Bay near Sevastopol. Various studies were carried out there.
The military dolphins were mainly used to guard different facilities. A dolphin should locate the environment with its echolocator and signal about appearing of a man with specific (alien) equipment. The trained dolphins were also used to help people during underwater works, bring different objects, lifting them from the depth of the sea etc.
This was the unique opportunity for the base scientists to study these animals with the most up-to-date equipment. The complex scientific research was carried out. The physiology, higher nervous activity, hydrodynamics, hydroacoustics, etc. of dolphins were being studied. This was the place where peculiarities of dolphin sleeping were found. The Soviet scientists Lev Mukhametov and Аlexander Supin found out that dolphins sleep with only one brain hemisphere, while the other is awake. Then vice versa. Dolphins can not sleep with both brain hemispheres, like humans do, otherwise they will sink. However, no other land animal can sleep like a dolphin.
The Moscow Dolphinarium history started not in Moscow, but on the Black Sea Coast of the Caucasus. In the 1980s, the cape Maliy Utrish near Novorossiysk was absolutely deserted and uninhabited. It was then that scientists fancied this secluded place. Dolphins lived here in the wild and one might watch them from the coast. In order to study the dolphins' behaviour some of dolphins were put in the special coastal open-air cages.
The veterinary examination preceded the communication with dolphins. Veterinarians took the blood samples, carried out different tests. If a dolphin was healthy, it was taught to eat dead fish, because dolphins are accustomed only to the "live food". It took a lot of time, as the dolphin eats approximately 16 kg (35.27 lb) of fish. After getting used to the artificial food, the animals were put in the specially equipped pools. Thus, the Utrish Biological Station was founded and nowadays it is famous all around the world.
In addition to the scientific research in the Utrish, dolphins were trained. The first performance of these amazing actors took place in the Utrish Dolphinarium in 1984. Six years later, in 1990, the Moscow Dolphinarium opened its doors to visitors. Its main actors were also the dolphins from the cape Malyi Utrish. But, unfortunately, dolphins became sick in Moscow and were immediately transported back to the South. The problem was that dolphins did not like the quality of the capital city water. It took Vladimir Sergeyevich Petrushin, the Director of the Moscow Dolphinarium, three years to gather a group of scientists and develop a special technology to prepare sea water good for dolphins.
The problem was solved in 1993 and on the eve of 1994 the Utrish Dolphinarium dolphins, the white whale Egor and four Black Sea bottle-nosed dolphins, were brought to Moscow again.
To keep sea animals in captivity, it is necessary to provide conditions they get accustomed to in the wild. It means that the pools shall always be filled with absolutely pure sea water.
The salt solution was pumped from the ancient well at a depth of 1.5 km (0.93 miles) till 2001. The pure salt brine solution was mixed with fresh tap water. Thus prepared water filled the pools. Water both for the main and additional pools was permanently filtered through the special plastic filters imported from Spain. The plastic pipes replaced all old metal pipes, which constantly suffered from corrosion.
But in 2001, the well stopped functioning; it just fell apart because of ageing. Thus, the Dolphinarium chemical laboratory experts developed a new way of preparing water: fresh water is specially salted down and filtered and only then fills the pools. The water quality is tested several times a day.
The Moscow Dolphinarium has its own veterinary team, which staff look carefully after the animals' health. Each actor has its own medical record, which includes not only information about weight and height of the patient, but all test results as well. There is also a so-called trainer card, where all particulars of the animal behaviour are written down.
Attending the performance, you will certainly feel the energy of this water theatre, the atmosphere of which is really special; it is positive, jolly and cheerful. One may take a photo of a dolphin or a white whale after the performance.
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