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For Dolphins, Play's the Thing

January 14, 1986

Dolphins smile all the time.

And with reason--especially at Marineland, on the Palos Verdes Peninsula, where there is always some human around to play with.

Dolphin performers and performers-in-training at the big aquatic amusement park are petted, patted, fed and helped to relax by a corps of 89 volunteers known as ORCAS . . . Organization for the Respect and Care of Animals of the Sea.

Between performances and training sessions, ORCAS members answer questions from the public, keep an eye on the big aquatic mammals and always have a few volleyballs or other dolphin toys handy to keep tensions at a minimum.

"It's the dolphins' way of relaxing," explained Helen Winchell, an ORCAS member who puts in four hours every week at Marineland. "They enjoy a pat on the head or a game--and so do I." (Which may explain why there are about 160 would-be volunteers on a waiting list to join in the fun.)

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