Using the technology of virtual reality people can experience the joy, beauty and awe of swimming with dolphins without supporting dolphin captivity.
Dolphin Swim Club is a non-profit foundation that has created a virtual reality experience to give people the opportunity to swim with dolphins from anywhere. It provides an alternative to dolphin-assisted therapies which have serious effectiveness and ethical questions to answer for, including the negative impact on dolphins. This technology may be able to replace the use of animals in parts of the world where cetacean captivity is increasing.
Virtual reality works using a headset or pair of goggles to create a simulated experience based on real footage. Dolphin Swim Club have only used footage of wild dolphin populations, collected themselves with a team of experts, ensuring no cruelty or disruption in the process. Check out their amazing footage in a preview here.
The program is used in the healthcare system for people who may be experiencing pain or anxiety. The therapeutic experience is being used in over 500 hospitals and healthcare institutions around the world. Studies have shown significant benefits to patients who use the wild dolphin VR experience, allowing people to reduce stress levels and rely less on pain medication.
Dolphin Swim Club has gone one step further. They have created VR waterproof goggles that allow people to actually swim in water as they experience dolphins all around them. If you want to get an idea of how it would look, click on the video here.
Dolphin Swim Club manufacture the waterproof VR goggles out of discarded fishing nets left floating in the sea. These nets have a horrific impact on marine life, killing seals, dolphins, whales, turtles, rays, sharks and many more animals.
The founder, artist Marijke Sjollema, started the Foundation in 2015 as an art project born from her love of the ocean and the animals who inhabit it.
“For anyone who can’t be out there in the oceans (all the time) the amazing technology of VR will bring them home to you! And better still, the dolphins stay in their own home, the free oceans of the world!”
There are no Australian institutions using the wild dolphin VR therapy as of yet, but there’s hope the program will expand in the future. If you’d like to know more, check out Dolphin Swim Club’s website here.