Dr. Toni Frohoff, wildlife behavioral biologist

Dr. Toni Frohoff—a wildlife behavioral biologist who has researched the lives and behaviors of elephants and cetaceans for more than 30 years—recalls how, as an aspiring surfer growing up in Southern California, encountering dolphins in the ocean there, spurred her initial interest in studying those cetaceans. Frohoff laments that she never learned to surf, but surfing’s loss represents science’s gain, as some of her earliest research explored the effects of captivity on bottlenose dolphins, with a focus on swim-with-dolphin enterprises. The co-author of two books, “Dolphin Mysteries: Unlocking the Secrets of Communication,” and “Between Species: Celebrating the Dolphin-Human Bond,” She recounts how her research widened out to orcas, particularly Luna, a solitary killer whale living in British Columbia. Over time, a personal interest in elephants—including tagging along with elephant researchers—led to expanding her studies into the realm of pachyderms, both in the wild and in captivity. Frohoff addresses how—and why—studying both captive and wild animals became something of a hallmark of her career, and how one side of this approach has served and informed the other. An advisor to The Whale Sanctuary Project, she touches on the sanctuary that aims to enable captive whales and dolphins to be rehabilitated and live in their natural environment, noting that The National Aquarium in Baltimore has parallel plans to create a similar sanctuary for dolphins, a striking step for a marine park with an array of captive animals. Frohoff shares her views on the gradually disappearing line between scientists and animal advocates, noting that the former—when inclined—are uniquely qualified to function effectively as the latter. (http://www.terramarresearch.org, https://wearesonar.org)

 

ALSO: I spoke with Fred Metzler, owner of the Dog Bar, in St. Petersburg, which is holding a Super Bowl Pawty on Feb. 3, including a Puppy Bowl before the broadcast of the big game— a multifaceted event that promises to be fun for two-legged and four-legged football fans.   (http://www.dogbarstpete.com)

 

COMEDY CORNER:  Kevin Hart’s “Phobias” (portion) (http://kevinhartnation.com)

MUSIC: Rebekah Pulley’s “Talking Animals Theme,” instrumentals

NAME THAT ANIMAL TUNE: Chuck Berry’s “Too Much Monkey Business”

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About the author
Duncan Strauss is the producer-host of “Talking Animals,” which he launched at KUCI in California in 2003, combining his passions for animals, radio, journalism, music and comedy. The show has aired since late 2005 on Tampa’s WMNF. Strauss lives in Jupiter Farms, FL with his family, including four cats, two horses and one dog. He spends each day talking to those animals, and maintains they talk right back to him, an as yet unverified claim.

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