Dolphins’ dirge

Last week’s story about the two dolphins escorting a dead dolphin came as no surprise to members of the Great Whales Foundation — the body washed up just a few feet from our beachfront headquarters, in the midst of a meeting! Our neighbor Beata Nielsen buried it nearby.

Was this some kind of a message? (Mr. De Herrera in his letter to the Surfside News also suggested as much.) Not only is it amazing that several dolphins escorted the dead dolphin for at least two days running, but finally that the carcass should wash ashore nearly on the doorstep of the Great Whales Foundation — out of miles and miles of Malibu coastline!

To add to the synchronicity of the event, the night before we had just hosted an inspiring talk by Mr. Scott Taylor, who travels the world researching dolphins and telling the “Legend of the Golden Dolphin.” (Scott had turned up at a party we hosted over the weekend for Dr. John Lilly, the renowned pioneer of human-dolphin communication research.) The gist of the legend (and the gist of our work here at GWF/MDRC) is that humans and dolphins have a rich and long-standing relationship, and that we have much to learn from our intelligent ocean-going cousins.

What were these dolphins trying to tell us? Were they conducting a public funeral for their pod-mate?

We’d like to suggest that this incident be taken as a reminder that a true shelter for stranded and injured dolphins is urgently needed in Southern California, and that Malibu is the perfect place to host it. For two years we have been developing a plan for just such a facility, the Malibu Dolphin Recovery Center. We have an energetic all-volunteer committee, and architectural designs. All that is lacking now for the MDRC to become a reality is a hundred yards of coastline, and a couple million dollars for construction.

Help us create a place where sick and injured dolphins, as well as “surplus” rejects from entertainment facilities and Navy labs, can recuperate and be released back to the sea, in a non-exploitative fashion. (MDRC is a fully registered nonprofit organization.) You can find out more about our organization on the web at www.gwf/mdrc.html, or by calling our information line at (310) 317-1411, ext. “MDRC.”


Together we can all do our small part in repairing the wounded relationship between humanity and our intelligent neighbors in the sea.

P.S. MDRC staff member Isabelle Bondi reports that a couple days after, approximately 30 dolphins spent over half an hour within a stone’s throw of where their pod-mate had been buried.

Jason Keehn,

Executive vice president, Great Whales Foundation

Dolphina Bastel,

president, MDRC

The Malibu Times is the first newspaper in Malibu, serving the community since 1946.

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