24 June 2016

Finding Dory: insights from getting lost and being found

Photo from movies.disney.com.au
Warning: spoiler alert!

Disney-Pixar's sequel to 2003's Finding Nemo, is quite a treat for people of all ages who dearly love the ocean, and after watching this movie, those who don't, will soon do. Finding Dory showcases the beauty of the marine environment, from the towering kelps and serene seagrasses, the myriad of majestic corals, cryptic crabs and worms, a fast jetting squid and an agile octopus, to sunbathing Californian sea lionshard-to-resist sea otters, thunderous spotted eagle rays, an adventurous common loon and green sea turtles. As if these marine creatures aren’t fantastic enough, the film delivers an incredibly funny, very poignant story that will tug at everyone’s hearts.

The Pacific regal blue tang, Dory, charmed the audience, chunks of humor aside and her whale-talking-prowess, with a genuine portrayal of what it is like to have an anterograde amnesia, of its limits and quite surprisingly, the strength that it brings forth. We can learn a lot from Dory by looking at the brighter side and asking ourselves the question: “What would Dory do?” instead of saying: “Don’t be such a Dory!”.

Who wouldn’t be in awe with Hank the east Pacific red octopus as he skillfully turns to a house plant, and moments later to a baby feeding on his bottle? Octopuses are probably the most intelligent sea creatures, utilizing every imaginable human litter on the ocean floor to blend in, and yes, even break out from captivity.  Hank was the epitome of such cleverness. More importantly, with Hank getting into trouble inch by inch with Dory, who can match such loyalty? Indeed, when you ask for help, the world conspires in helping you achieve it.

Destiny, the whale shark, although near-sighted and bumps her head all the time, was able to rise above her insecurity (literally and figuratively) and help her pipepal Dory as she launches a rescue operation. Her friend beluga, Bailey was able to regain his ability to echolocate - a ton of help, not to mention super fun - as he and Destiny helped Dory find her way through the pipes. What Dory said was true: “Best things happen by chance.” She happens to have a pipepal who also happens to have the coolest partner. And of course, the world is a better place with people living to their potential and helping each other out.

Our old friends, the orange clownfish Nemo and his father Marlin, resonate a story so familiar – of being lost and then reunited. Marlin knew very well how empty it felt to have lost Nemo and didn't want to go through it all again, that’s why he was hesitant to help Dory, but he was reminded that it was because of Dory and her sometimes thoughtless acts, that helped both Nemo and Marlin muster courage when they needed it most. Sometimes fear can paralyze us, but Dory and many of the characters prove otherwise, and that we won't realize what we’re capable of until we try. So let’s battle against the tempest and just keep swimming!

Join us in the next few weeks as we get to know more about the amazing animals we've met in this story.

Visit SeaLifeBase and FishBase, respectively, or click the designated links.

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17 June 2016

PSA: Don't make Dory your next pet!

Artwork: Mike Yap

Finding Dory is out in cinemas in the U.S. today, June 17.  It’s all about the journey of an amnesic blue tang, named Dory, reuniting with her family. This sequel to Disney-Pixar's "Finding Nemo", brings unrest to researchers and conservationists as its popularity might trigger its increased demand in the aquarium trade, such as in the case of clownfish species after "Finding Nemo" hit the theaters in 2003. Despite Disney-Pixar's attempt to raise awareness in wild-caught aquarium organisms in "Finding Nemo", this activity giving cause to the movie's title, the aquarium industry still saw an astounding significant increase in the demand for it. Every kid wants to have a pet nemo. It seems the message failed to get across.

The problem is, unlike Nemo’s species, Dory's kind are delicate and near impossible to breed in captivity. In fact, a group of researchers have been trying to breed blue tang in laboratory conditions since 2012, but they have not since been able to get the fish to survive longer than 22 days. Therefore, an increase in the demand for Dory in aquariums would most definitely lead to its population to decline in the wild.

Although this kind of species are not considered threatened or endangered, as Desiderius Erasmus famous quote says “Prevention is better than cure”, let us all raise awareness in keeping species like Dory in the wild and not in tanks. Tell and share with your friends “Don’t buy Dory!”.

‘FindingNemo’ Hurt Clownfish. Will The Same Happen With Dory?  Published on May 23, 2016. [Accessed 15/06/2016].

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08 June 2016

World Oceans Day 2016: Healthy Oceans, Healthy Planet

Artwork: Mike Yap

The ocean provides us with many things, including food and medicine, and is an important reservoir of carbon and oxygen, things that are necessary for our survival. Other than these, it serves as a home to vast numbers of organisms and it also regulates the Earth’s climate. Simply put, oceans since the dawn of time, have been caring for all organisms including the human race, but the question is, do we care for the oceans? Unfortunately, humans have misused its resources and unknowingly put 71 percent of the Earth’s surface at risk. However,  it is never too late for man to change this kind of situation.

Today, the whole world celebrates World Oceans Day, an annual event to celebrate the beauty, the wealth and the promise of the ocean. This was first proposed in 1992 by the Government of Canada at the Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro, and in 2008 during the United Nations General Assembly, it was officially set to be celebrated every 8th day of June. May this celebration remind and unite us all in making plans into actions toward a sustainable management of the world’s oceans. Healthy oceans, healthy planet.


World Oceans Day 8 June. Accessed from http://www.un.org/en/events/oceansday/.
World Oceans Day History. Accessed from http://www.worldoceansday.org/about/history/.

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