Environment: Joe And Rosie Go for It

A pair of captive dolphins are retrained for a new life at sea

In mid-July on a tidal creek among Georgia's coastal islands, six people ceremoniously untied the gates of an underwater pen that for the previous 28 days had contained two very civilized bottle-nosed dolphins. The finny pair disappeared from view. Moments later they surfaced upstream, defying predictions that they would not voluntarily leave behind the comforts of captivity. Overcome, one observer broke into tears. Wild dolphins might roam 50 miles daily, but this pair had spent seven of their eight years in cramped enclosures.

The release of the dolphins was the work of the Oceanic Research Communication Alliance, a ragtag team of...