Dolphins have been celebrated in myths and for centuries have been respected for their special talents. The Greeks considered them as being closer to the gods than any other creature. Australian Aboriginals have saluted these magnificent creatures by including stories of them in their Dreamtime. But as time passed, this high regard for the connections between dolphins and human beings was challenged by the unrestrained slaughter of dolphins by the whaling industry and others. This shocking development is depicted most graphically in the Oscar-winning documentary The Cove, which exposes the Japanese slaughter of these incredible animals.
Diana Reiss has spent 35 years with dolphins. Friends and colleagues have dubbed her the "Dolphin Whisperer." She was a scientific advisor on The Cove. Reiss believes that these intelligent and self-aware creatures have "a certain ineffable presence" about them which explains why more and more people rank them near the top of the animal kingdom.
The author commends the distinctive qualities of dolphins such as their intelligence, speed, playful nature, phenomenal hearing ability, sensitivity to touch, cooperation with their own species, capacity for imitative behavior, formation of long-lasting bonds with one another, and capacity to care for a hurt or mortally wounded companion.
Reiss, who is professor in the Psychology Department at Hunter College, directs the Dolphin Research Program at the National Aquarium in Baltimore. In this fascinating and enlightening book she highlights some of the contributions she has made to the understanding of and appreciation of dolphin intelligence and overall behavior. Anyone reading this book will come away with a greater respect for these mammals of the sea.