Aren’t we all one ?
12 / 1993
Dolphins are now an endangered species in Sri Lanka as they taste sweet and make a popular dish. The fishermen rarely fish for them but they get caught among other varieties in trawl nets. At present there is an embargo on their capture but understandably it is ignored.
Dolphins are playful creatures and move in herds with the biggest male acting as leader. In the open sea no doubt the school either combines to attack an enemy, or make off to safety depending on what the leader does. Sounds play an important part in their scheme of things, the commonest being a kind of whistling that can be seen as well as heard as a stream of bubbles comes from the blowhole as they do it. They whistle when playing or cruising and in times of danger it helps to keep the group together. Scientists believe their intelligence is closest to man’s and spacemen even believe that they can help in understanding weightlessness. Their friendship with human beings is legendary.
Recently I was witness to a rare occurence. I was standing on the seabeach watching my children swimming. Suddenly there was a commotion to the left of us. Strange creatures leapt into the air out of the waves, one after another making strange squealing distress calls. Others followed them, as if to come to its aid.
On the beach people were running excitedly with nets, and hanasu, obviously trying to grab them. Several swimming club members ran out trying to prevent this.
Soon I was told what happened. There was a dolphin wounded by a boat. Dolphins have a sonar system that guides them through the deep. When injured they lose their sense of direction and are stranded. The wounded dolphin was being assisted by its mates as it rushed wildly to the shore. They had all missed the narrow opening in the reef through which they could return to safety.
On the beach they would have died of asphyxiation or be caught by the fishermen. The club members acted fast. One of them got into his motorboat with a couple of friends and slowly cruised around till the dolphines noticed him and quitely followed. Soon they were guided back to the reef and to safety.
Not for a moment did they think these creatures are different fron us. They acted spontaneously and saved their lives.
Why then don’t we extend this same compassion to our own fellowmen, and think of ourselves as one?
IRED Asie (Development Support Service) - 562/3 Nawala Road - Rajagiriya - Sri Lanka Tel : 94 1 695 481 - Fax : 94 1 - 688 368