Kagawa: Video of 3 Dolphins Picking Up Garbage Goes Viral; Staff Trained Them to Exchange Trash for Food

The Yomiuri Shimbun
Dolphins continue to bring in garbage in Sanuki, Kagawa Prefecture.

SANUKI, Kagawa — Three bottlenose dolphins kept in an oceanfront facility in Sanuki, Kagawa Prefecture, have become popular for picking up trash drifting in the ocean.

The dolphins are kept in an enclosure about 20 meters long, 40 meters wide and 7 meters deep at the Japan Dolphin Center, where visitors can learn about dolphin ecology and swim with them.

Garbage such as plastic bags, bottles and packages flows into the enclosure through gaps in the netting or from above despite staff cleaning the area each morning. The dolphins grab the garbage with their mouths and give it to the staff.

Courtesy of Japan Dolphin Center
A dolphin lifts a piece of trash on its snoot.

In the past, a dolphin became ill after swallowing plastic garbage, so the staff trained the dolphins to exchange garbage for food. The dolphins are now able to find plastic debris as small as 1.5 centimeters square. A video of the dolphins picking up garbage has gone viral on social media.