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Robert found The Oceania Project on the Web. He sent an email asking if it would be possible for him to join the Expedition as part of The Oceania Youth Project. After a series of email messages between us and his parents they decided to support him flying from Oregon in the USA to Hervey Bay, Australia to join the Expedition for two weeks. We commend the courage of Robert's Parents to allow him the adventure. Robert was the first Student from the USA to join the Expedition and he paved the way for the many overseas Student's who now join the Expedition each year.
"We teach our children that nature is there to be exploited, that the animals exist for our utility."
"Whatever the reason for the change in dolphin tactics, finally the animals were learning to flee at the first sign of a human being. Perhaps it took the dolphins five years before they could accept the fact that humans were as BRUTAL as they seemed to be acting."- Iki Fishing Slaughter.
"When the experiments are human-centred, they must produce human results. They tell us absolutely nothing about the wisdom of the animal, and in fact, practically nothing about the animal's ability to communicate either. They succeed merely as indicators of whether or not any animal has the ability to mimic certain human intellectual models, in return for the major necessities of food and companionship. The animal is never a participant, always a specimen." - Experiments on Captive Animals, Jim Nollman - Animal Dreaming.
imageRobert Bennington,
Portland, Oregon,
The United States of America.
I know those aren't the most pleasant quotes, but they are a realisation that we have to live with. I came to Australia from Portland, Oregon of the United States of America with a curiosity of Whales and Dolphins. Before I came I experienced seeing many marine mammals on display in captivity. I was so excited just watching the dolphins and other animals, I never realised what they had lost out on in life.
image This drawing was part of Roberts Journal entry. Marine animals are such incredibly playful creatures. No matter how old the animal, they seem as happy and full of life as a human child. But somewhere in our past we took these beautiful dolphins and sea lions and stuck them into a pool that even I would get incredibly tired and bored of playing in. Now, we have dug the hole deeper by letting those mammals have offspring, that have never surfed the bow of a boat, or played with a gentle Humpback Whale.

Now I am on the beautiful waters of Hervey Bay, Australia. I have peered over the bow of 'Karma' and stared into the eye of a dolphin, FREE - in harmony with its home.
Maybe they like being fed by a human and performing tricks all day. But we, as their new 'Caretakers', could at least provide them with a larger play area, instead of the small pools not even big enough for a human to swim in.

The capturing of dolphins for any type of captivity is at a stop, for what we know. But we still have the problem of caring for the many generations of captive dolphins yet to come. What do we do? At age 17, this is the question that I am determined to answer.
image Robert waits patiently with Paul Hodda - President of the Australian Whale Conservation Society - as a pod approaches.
image Robert and Mark assist Alyssa to take a Chlorophyl A sample for the water quality study. You may be wondering what this has to do with The Oceania Project. Without Wally & Trish, I would not be here in Australia, maybe I might have even become a Chef or Businessman, and never even thought anything more about my curiosity about Dolphins and Whales.

But for some unexplainable reason I found Wally & Trish, and here I am. My life has changed incredibly, and I now know that my life is dedicated to the many Cetaceans of the sea. It is sad that we have to correct problems that we created.
Make sure you think about the feelings you have found within your heart this last week you (the reader) have spent with the Humpbacks and other many Cetaceans in Hervey Bay. And that you have spent with Wally & Trish. Maybe you will find your life has changed as well. And before you leave The Oceania Project, make sure you drain Wally & Trish of all the information you want to know about Cetacea. The beautiful things they have to tell you is enough alone to change your life.

Thank You, Wally & Trish

Love,

Robert Bennington (Yankee)


Read Robert's letter, written on his return to Oregon, to his family and friends about his Whale Research Expedition Adventure.

The Expedition Journal pages were created with the help of a Canon Compact Digital Camera Canon Compact Digital Camera

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