Robert E. Bailey was
born on October 27, 1936 in Columbus, Ohio. He completed his BA in
Zoology at the University of California at Los Angeles in 1959. Active in
his studies, Bailey served as a teaching assistant in his junior year, and
in his senior year he served as a research assistant in both the UCLA
School of Medicine and the Department of Zoology. In the School of
Medicine, he participated in a study on avian imprinting, and in the
Department of Zoology, he worked to capture, catalogue, and care for a
large number of plant and animal species for the department while working
with California Fish and Game biologists to study fish. During this time,
he also developed and constructed his own equipment for the capture and
transport of animals. After his graduation, Bailey noticed an ad for a
position as the Director of Animal Training for the U.S. Navy, and decided
to apply for it. To this day, Bailey maintains that he doesn't
know why he got the job. He had trained squid, octopi, fish, and
eels at UCLA, but that would look small compared to the work that he would
do with the Navy.
By 1962, he was working as the Director of the U.S.
training program. The program was just beginning to research dolphins at
Point Mugu. He directed studies into fluid flow around dolphins, as well
as dolphin communication. In addition, Bailey conducted research and
developed programs for fleet systems using dolphins, seals, and sea
lions. Among the objectives of the Navy's
programs was the establishment of behavioral, physiological, medical, and
nutritional norms. Traveling to different bases to work on animal
training, Bailey noticed that the name "Breland"
was coming up repeatedly. Bailey met with Keller Breland in 1962, and
eventually the Brelands were hired as consultants on the animal training
projects. Soon Bob met Marian Breland and collaborator Kent Burgess.
Keller Breland held a very simple class in operant
conditioning for the U. S. Navy's
dolphin trainers. At this point, Breland had considerable experience with
conditioning, and he taught the dolphin trainers in no time to condition a
chicken as a primer for training the dolphins. Building on the knowledge
that they received from the Brelands, Bob Bailey and Sam Ridgeway (the
“dolphin doctor” at Point Mugu) developed dolphin-husbandry procedures in
the spring of 1963, teaching dolphins to lie still and cooperate, to let
trainers put objects into their mouths and blowholes (e.g., for
medical procedures), and eventually to
let trainers draw blood and give injections. It was also in 1963 that Mr.
Bailey initiated and completed the U.S. Navy's
first dolphin open ocean release-and-recovery program. The operation was,
at the time, classified SECRET.
In 1965, Bailey went to work for Animal Behavior Enterprises
Assistant Technical Director. He was placed in charge of ABE's
programs for the Department of Defense and all of the marine mammal
programs. In addition, he developed equipment for the animal displays and
demonstrations, and he wrote manuals and scripts. He also documented ABE's
experimental work. This government work was also classified SECRET.
Keller Breland died in 1965. From 1966-1967, Bailey became the research director
for ABE. He was responsible for all research programs and
experimentation, including secret government work. He developed several
unique apparati for dolphin and other animal navigation, as well as
devices using lasers, supersonic generators, and radio transceivers suitable to be
implanted in the animals. Bob also developed many exhibits for ABE,
including the popular Bird
Brain display. Bailey was made Project Manager of ABE in 1967. Two years later, he became the
Vice President and General Manager of ABE, a position that he held until
1986. It was during this time, in 1976, that he married Marian Breland. He is an accomplished animal trainer, having trained over 150 species and
thousands of individual animals.
love of technology sent him back to the community college in the early
1980's for a degree in BASIC computer programming. He has worked with
computers at great length, always trying to stay on the cutting-edge.
Bailey himself holds four patents for electromechanical devices for animal
training and for use in educational and amusement displays.
Beginning in 1990, Bob served as the CEO of Eclectic
Science Productions, which applies behavioral psychology to learning
situations. Bob Bailey's
resume is an impressive collection of government projects and
groundbreaking psychological research. His unique passion for
understanding animals and his attraction to the latest in technology
helped him to become an important figure in the world of behavioral
psychology. With Marian Breland Bailey, he was a key figure in many
grants and experimental projects and was the co-author of many technical
papers regarding their work together. The Baileys toured the world,
working as animal trainers and behavioral psychologists, using
the operant procedures they had mastered in their own work. Marian
died in 2001. Today, Bob lives
, where he continues to run Eclectic Science Productions.