Let’s make sure the current generation of dolphins in captivity is the last
Australia has one of the world’s largest captive dolphin venues: Sea World, on the Gold Coast. And New Zealanders are one of the biggest sources of foreign tourism to the Gold Coast, with the various entertainment parks like Sea World being a popular destination.
New Zealand no longer has dolphins in captivity. Yet there are currently 30+ dolphins at Sea World, most of which were born and bred there. Even more may be bred in future to provide entertainment for tourists – unless we act. These highly intelligent animals will live up to 50 years in captivity in small concrete pools - a world away from, when in the wild where they range over hundreds of square kilometres. For these captive dolphins, it means 50 years of boredom and confinement, punctuated only by performing in shows and interacting with tourists.
Together, we can act to ensure that the dolphins at Sea World are the last generation to suffer a lifetime of captivity.
Join us and call on the Queensland Government to ban breeding at Sea World, and begin work on a sea sanctuary for the dolphins who cannot be released into the wild.
The acceptability of keeping dolphins in captivity for entertainment is declining. Travel companies and airlines are beginning to distance themselves from captive dolphin venues, and governments in Australia and overseas have already legislated to close them.
The NSW Labor party has a policy to ban dolphin captivity. This will eventually see the closure of the only other dolphinarium in Australia – Dolphin Marine Conservation Park – at Coffs Harbour.
As the tide continues to turn against dolphin captivity, venues like Sea World will become increasingly unviable and in the near future will no longer offer captive dolphin shows. The future of the wild animals kept captive in these venues needs to be addressed. Given dolphins can live up to 50 years, this means no new dolphins should be bred. Work must also begin on a sea sanctuary for those dolphins currently at Sea World who will not be able to be released into the wild.
Travel companies and airlines must stop promoting and selling tickets to venues like Sea World, in the same way they have stopped promoting cruel practises like elephant riding.
Thousands of marine mammals like dolphins and small whales are living in captivity around the world, with more captured from the wild and sold into captivity each year or bred for public display at tourist attractions, according to a new report by the Animal Welfare Institute (AWI) and World Animal Protection.
The fifth edition of The Case Against Marine Mammals in Captivity provides robust scientific evidence and ethical arguments into the behind-the-scenes realities of zoos, aquariums and marine theme parks.
Since the publication of the last edition in 2009, the controversy over captive marine mammals has intensified, largely due to high-profile documentaries such as “The Cove” and “Blackfish,” ensuring that every new proposal to build a dolphinarium or marine theme park with captive animals anywhere in the world will receive increased scrutiny and scepticism.