Take a good look at the first 3 photos in this set and remember them next time you want to see a dolphin in captivity. That’s what your money goes to. All companies that keep dolphins captive are inter-connected. Just remember those may be your dollars you paid being handed off under the table to import a wild caught dolphin, or your dollars may be directly handed to the man who captured and/or killed the dolphins like you saw in that show.
Still need more convincing that dolphin captivity is wrong? Here are some fast facts:
Dolphins in the wild spend around 80% of their time exploring, feeding, and socializing underwater. Captive dolphins spend about 80% of their time at the surface because they are logging lifelessly at the surface, looking for food/attention, or waiting for commands by their trainers who control every aspect of their life.
In the wild dolphins are documented to swim 40 or MORE miles per day. In captivity, they are confined to an area that is dramatically smaller, not allowing them to swim or dive as long or deep as they would in the wild. Animals can develop stereotypical behaviors from lack of space to act naturally in.
In the wild dolphins utilize their extreme intelligence by spending a lot of time hunting and developing hunting techniques together. This gives the animals an opportunity to problem solve, get stimulation, and socialize with each other. In captivity animals are fed dead frozen fish in a limited variety (sometimes unnatural to the animal’s typical diet), taking away that massive chunk of their wild daily lives from them and leaving them under stimulated.
Dolphins are highly social, and although they do not always stay together for life, they form complex societies and dialects, which are disrupted in captivity and cause aggression and frustration between tank mates who are forced to live together.
Dolphins that are put through swim-with programs are subject to humans constantly invading their heavily confined space. Not only does this put dolphins at risk of contracting disease from the tourists and tourists at risk of being injured by these wild animals, these programs give the dolphins no peace from humans who are constantly trying to interact with them by force.
Little known or discussed about in the captivity debate is the water park Aquatica, located in Orlando Florida, and owned by Seaworld. This water park has a particular attraction called the Dolphin Plunge, where tourists can slide down a water slide that passes through a tank of Commerson’s Dolphins.
Commerson’s dolphins are well known as an elsive species of dolphin that is very active and quick-moving. Both of these traits prove for them to not only be unsuitable for confinement, but also for being so invasively surrounded by humans. To add onto the probable discomfort of having screaming people shooting through their tank every few minutes, there is an underwater viewing area that is added onto this tank, as well as a viewing area from above the water, further diminishing any privacy these animals should have access to.
The ICUN lists these animals as a threatened species, and to add onto the threats to the population from being hunted for their meat and oil, Seaworld (along with the Duisburg Zoo and a few small Japanese Aquariums) captured 53 or more of these animals for live display, further endangering their wild population numbers between 1978-1987.
Aquatica Orlando opened in 2008 with 4 dolphins in their inventory: Pepe, Fabio, Ross, and Keebler. Since then, Keebler and Fabio passed away. Keebler was 16, Fabio was 21. Only 2 dolphins remain at the park.
Please don’t support this business that is not only unfair to the animals, but environmentally unsustainable. Be pro-freedom, and spend your money on an animal-free water park, or take your family on a responsible whale watching tour instead.
Yet in captivity, these animals don’t consume a live diet. They’re only fed dead, frozen, dehydrated fish, typically only a couple of varieties.
Marine park staff will tell you that they only feed “restaurant quality” fish to their animals, as to boast that they are receiving the best diet they could possibly have. What they don’t mention is that the majority of their animals all come from different regions and sub-sets, meaning they all consume different diets. whether that be of fish, crustaceans, mammals, birds, etc. However in captivity, they’re all getting the same types of dead fish. So essentially, quality of the fish is irrelevant when the animal is being fed a diet that he/she is not genetically built to thrive on.
Because many of these animals are eating diets not natural to their wild counterparts, they will have to be supplemented with extra vitamins and minerals in an attempt to fill the nutrition gap.
Also to be considered is the fact that these animals are extremely skilled predators. Evolution has graced them with all of the capabilities to be extremely successful masters of their environments. Social groups spend a lot of their time and stimulation on hunting. They use complex hunting methods as a way of communicating, teaching their young, and even play. To be hand fed already-dead prey in captivity deprives them of their wild instincts to constantly hunt and work on ways of improving their hunting methods.
Don’t support dolphins and whales in captivity, don’t buy a ticket. Tell your friends.