Friday, December 01, 2006

It's showtime for two dolphins in Indonesia

TWO dolphins and two sea lions flew in from Indonesia on Monday night to star in a series of shows that start today at a specially constructed venue in SM Mall of Asia.

Yes, they flew—in special bags or hammocks, it turns out (they’re mammals; they can stay out of water for up to three days, we are told). Then they were transported straight to the Aquatorium for just over a full day’s “rest” before “The Wonderful World of Dolphins with the Sea Lions” commences.

The series goes on for 40 days (until Jan. 7, 2007) with five shows daily—11 a.m., 2 p.m., 4 p.m., 6 p.m. and 8 p.m.

Some more dolphin facts:

1) They can swim and sleep at the same time. For eight hours, their entire brain is wide awake. Then the left hemisphere sleeps for the next eight hours while the right stays up. Then the two sides switch. Thus, they stay alert for predators.

2) Bottle-nosed dolphins—such as the ones performing here this season—are the most common and famous specie of this intelligent cetacean. They are very energetic and are never too shy to approach boats and swimmers.

3) Dolphins are very sociable animals and live in groups or pods of up to a dozen individuals. In areas where food is abundant, the pods combine to form huge superpods. They are known to “look after” pod-mates who get injured.

4) They are equipped with sonar, which allows them to detect underwater sound even 15 miles away! They “talk” to each other with a variety of sounds like clicks, squeals, and whistles. They also use ultrasonic sound to find objects, a skill known as “echolocation.”

5) They are capable of imitation and memorization and can remember specific tones better than humans!

The Aquatorium, just a stone’s throw away from the Mall of Asia, is 12 feet wide and 8 feet deep. The show promoters, Movers and Shakers, carry a permit from the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES).

Tickets prices are at P300 and P400. Call 551-8825, 416-2628 or (0916) 984-5255.

Quick "Facts about Dolphins"