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Homecoming queen turned dolphin trainer

Rachel Chamberlain, USA Marine Biology senior. Photo courtesy of Rachel Chamberlain

Rachel Chamberlain, USA Marine Biology senior. Photo courtesy of Rachel Chamberlain

Rachel Chamberlain, USA Marine Biology senior. Photo courtesy of Rachel Chamberlain

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USA senior Rachel Chamberlain, landed her dream job training dolphins at Dolphin Quest in Oahu, Hawaii. After graduation, Chamberlain has a job waiting for her as an Apprentice Marine Mammal Specialist for Dauphin Quest.

This facility in particular has sentimental importance to Chamberlain. During a visit to Dolphin Quest, she realized her passion for marine animals and decided that she wanted to become an marine animal trainer.

“As I entered my last semester of college, I began my post graduate job hunt,” Chamberlain said. “Working at Dolphin Quest has been a dream job since I was a little kid, so I started checking their website for job openings on a daily basis. As soon as they posted a listing for an apprentice specialist, I immediately applied!

“When I was 6 years old, I visited Dolphin Quest while on a family vacation to Hawaii. The Marine Mammal Specialists there instilled a passion in me for marine mammals that has never faded!” Chamberlain said.

Now, over a decade later, things have come full circle.

Chamberlain said her job will involve training and caring for the dolphins and educating guests about marine mammals, wildlife conversations and scientific studies Dolphin Quest is conducting or participating in.

During the spring semester of 2018, Chamberlain took part in a for-credit internship with the US Navy Marine Mammal Program (NMMP) in San Diego, California. She was able to be directly mentored by senior level Navy handlers while they trained their dauphins and sea lions.

“In my high school marine biology class, I learned about the Navy Marine Mammal Program and the amazing work that they do protecting our service men and women,” Chamberlain said. “I knew immediately that I wanted to be a part it one day! When I decided to take a semester away from college to intern, the NMMP was the first place I applied.”

Her time with the Navy in California solidified that marine animal training was what she wanted to do for the rest of her life. The day-today life of a marine animal trainer was one Chamberlain could see herself living.

“During my internship, I assisted with the daily care and training of bottlenose dolphins and California sea lions,” Chamberlain said. “My days began at 6 am in the fish house where we prepared the daily meals for all of the NMMP animals. Afterwards, we would spend the rest of the day with our crews participating in training sessions, assisting veterinary procedures, and caring for the animals however needed. I loved every second of it.”

Chamberlain is scheduled to graduate with her bachelors in marine biology in May 2018. During her time in college, she’s been a member and officer of Kappa Delta Sorority, a cheerleader and was recently crowned as USA’s homecoming queen.

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3 Responses to “Homecoming queen turned dolphin trainer”

  1. Janet Locke on March 5th, 2018 5:16 pm

    Rachel Chamberlain is a beautiful and well-educated young woman. Personally, if she were my daughter, I would want her to have higher aspirations than to become a dolphin trainer.
    With Rachel’s degree in marine biology, she should know that wild dolphins swim 40 – 100 miles per day, can dive 990 feet, live in complex social societies., form emotional bonds with other dolphins, and are curious, playful, intelligent and good problem-solvers. It has been reported on numerous occasions that have encircled people in the ocean to protect them from sharks and have shown altruistic behavior towards other sea-going animals who needed help finding their ways back to the ocean from narrow inlets.
    It is a terrible shame to use these wonderful beings for human entertainment. They often suffer from depression when they are unable to express the full range of their natural behaviors in captivity. Moreover, dolphins are not pieces of furniture to ship from one place to another, as Dolphin Quest Oahu did when they sent Kai’nalu and Liko, two dolphins born at Dolphin Quest Oahu, to Dolphinarius in Arizona in 2016.
    Joining an industry that exploits these wonderful animals for profit is not something to celebrate.
    I encourage Rachel to find a job with an organization such as the Pacific Whale Foundation which engages in marine research and offers ecotourism to help pay for it. Rachel could become a certified Marine Naturalist who could provide the public with an opportunity to watch wildlife in their natural habitat.

  2. Andreas Mowka on March 9th, 2018 12:56 pm

    Just what the world needs, another dolphin dominatrix. Little girl, you might not know where these dolphins come from (see Taiji, Japan, and similar locations where wild dolphins are captured for slaughter or sale). Dolphins suffer without freedom and their family/pod. Please learn some more about the plight of keeping wild animals captive.

  3. Andreas Mowka on March 9th, 2018 1:22 pm

    Yes, the world needs more people to dominate wild dolphins. IMATA, the international marine animal training association, also assists in the slaughter and capture of wild dolphins, maybe the girl wants to join the bastards in The Cove of Taiji, Wakayama? They always need another stabber.

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