Facts vs.: Fiction
Marine mammals are fascinating creatures who live in a world quite
foreign to most of us. Much of what we know about them has been
derived from the relatively few representative animals living in marine
parks and aquariums around the world.
Unlike many terrestrial species that have been displayed, studied and
domesticated for centuries, the in-depth study of living marine
mammals really goes back only a few decades. Recent advances in
the science and technology of water filtration and disinfection; dietary
requirements; disease prevention, diagnosis and treatment; social
needs and environmental enrichment have greatly enhanced our ability
to successfully house, breed and study marine mammals as never
Advances in scuba systems, underwater cameras, sonar, hydrophones,
etc. have also allowed scientists much greater access to animals in the
wild. While many very important field studies of marine mammals are
taking place all over the world, scientists still rely on captive animals
for much of their data. Zoological parks [especially those that are
members of professional associations such as the Alliance of Marine
Mammal Parks and Aquariums (AMMPA) and the International
Marine Animal Trainers Association (IMATA) ] have always
participated in and supported these studies.
Unfortunately there is still a great deal of old, outdated, inaccurate or
even distorted information circulating about marine mammals. The
information presented here will always be based upon the most
accurate and recent data available. In addition, references,
bibliographies and links to other sites are provided on a rich variety of
subjects related to these animals. Students, and others who are
interested in more detail, are encouraged to seek out and use these
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Revised: August 27, 2011.