New Zealand poet Tomfoolery releases 'Dancing Dolphins' poem about mammal mistreatment

A popular young Kiwi poet from London has gone viral after releasing a poem to mark World Oceans Day.

Tomos Roberts, whose artist name is 'Tomfoolery', wrote a piece called 'Dancing Dolphins' in an effort to answer his younger sister's question: "Why are people mean to animals?"

The poem reads: "I couldn't tell you how it started, and I don't know precisely when,

But they began rounding up the dolphin pods, and placing them in pens,

They traded fish with them for backflips, and gathered customers in groups,

And for the price of an admission, you'd sit and see them spring through hoops."

Based in London, the 26-year-old writer, performance artist and filmmaker was born in New Zealand to Welsh parents.

His previous poem, 'The Great Realisation', has been viewed over 60 million times.

World Animal Protection said Tomfoolery's poem "shines a light on the plight of captive dolphins and the broader cruel captive wildlife industry".

"The playful and intelligent mammals are forced to spend their lives in barren tanks, most of which are a fraction of their natural home range, and unable to exhibit their natural behaviours," the organisation added.

Once a popular tourist attraction, Marineland is now gone.
Once a popular tourist attraction, Marineland is now gone. Photo credit: Getty Images/Newshub

Marineland in Napier was the last dolphinarium in New Zealand and closed in 2008. However, keeping dolphins in captivity remains legal. 

Most dolphin species kept in entertainment venues are not endangered or threatened.

Captive dolphins can live up to 50 years in small, barren and sometimes chlorinated tanks and pools.

In the wild, bottlenose dolphins often have home ranges exceeding 100 square km. In captivity, most dolphins live in tanks which are over 200,000 times smaller than their natural home range.