Christmas came early for the dolphins and their caregivers at Dolphins Plus Marine Mammal Responder in Key Largo, Florida in the form of a new floating dock system.
Their AccuDock platforms are central to caring for their dolphins as they allow them to have close access to the animals regardless of fluctuating tides. Just like children unwrapping presents on Christmas morning, the Dolphins Plus Marine Mammal Responder team was elated to see the docks arrive. After working on the dock project for over 2 years… planning, applying for permits, and fundraising, the dream finally came to fruition.
Throughout the entire installation process, the training team asked the dolphins to come over to the new platforms for a quick snack. At one point, Tug (by far the bravest dolphin with the new docks) even started pushing a trainers foot and helped us get the docks into their new spot. The fact that the dolphins were so easily adjusting to the new platforms proved amazing, and with any luck, they hoped to facilitate the dolphins hydrating from these new docks and accomplishing other healthcare behaviors in no time!
Over the first few weeks, all of the dolphins easily transitioned to their new platforms. The new AccuDock system has been in for almost a month now and the verdict is in! Trainers and Dolphins both LOVE the new platforms.
The trainers are now able to increase “variability” in their sessions, which means they are able to be much more creative and less predictable in their interactions with the dolphins. The new layout allows the dolphins to interact with their trainers around the entire lagoon and provides much more space for the trainers to stand and move around. Historically, because of the lack of space associated with our previous dock system, the dolphins needed to be paired in two’s and sit next to each other in a session. With the new layout, there is plenty of space for each dolphin to have his or her own station. In the Main Lagoon, the dolphins also now have space behind the platforms, which means they have their own private area to use during interactions, if needed. After observing the animals’ behavior in sessions, the trainers all feel this new layout benefits their day-to-day lives and increases their welfare.
Trainers, dolphins, and even guests (that’s right!) have an improved experience with the new platforms. It appears that all of us have an exciting future ahead, thanks to our partners at AccuDock. Happily, AccuDock decided to partnered with DPMMR and donated a portion of the docks, which ultimately improved the lives of the dolphins.
Here are the top reasons why DPMMR recommends AccuDock:
- The doc ks were quick and easy to install, and extremely customizable, all of which were essential when working with animals.
- The docks are extremely durable. Just weeks after installing, the docks endured the extreme rising tides and winds of Tropical Storm Eta, where they withstood an additional 3-4 foot storm surge with ease.
- The docks are very sleek and aesthetically pleasing.
- The team at AccuDock was incredibly capable and friendly, as well as extremely supportive of DPMMR and our mission.
The humans at DPMMR couldn’t be happier with their new AccuDock System and the fact that the dolphins also seem to love the new platforms is the icing on the cake!
For more information about AccuDock’s floating dock solutions, contact us!