UK tour operator ceases sales to marine parks

DFE are delighted to report that Jet2Holidays will, from 27 March, cease to sell any excursions to marine parks holding dolphins and whales.  This will include Loro Parque, Tenerife which currently holds the orca known as Morgan.

In October 2023 a letter was sent to Jet2holidays on behalf of scientists, conservationists, and organisations, several of which are DFE members, urging them to cease all trade with captive facilities.  Congratulations to all involved, we are delighted with this news and hope that this will result in other tour operators following suit

Harderwijk again apply for dolphin move to China

Dutch Minister of Agriculture, Nature, and Food Quality Piet Adema has blocked the sale of eight bottlenose dolphins from Dolfinarium Harderwijk to Hainan Ocean Paradise in China, due to China’s lack of animal welfare legislation.  The minister has requested further information from the Netherlands marine park, as the company have not yet shown that the keeping and caring of the dolphins once in China will be in line with the standards set for Dutch zoos.

Previously when the zoo showed interest in selling eight dolphins, two sea lions and two walruses to China, MPs overwhelmingly backed a motion against the deal. The dolphins at Dolfinarium Harderwijk no longer perform tricks for the public following a critical report about their living conditions at the park, and if they are moved to China, and no longer under any control from the Dutch authorities, there is no guarantee that the dolphins will not be used for entertainment or breeding purposes. In 2022, Parques Reunidos closed its dolphinarium in Aquopolis, Costa Dorada (Spain), and sent its nine dolphins to Hainan Ocean Paradise.

Rumours regarding orca Morgan

We wish to address rumours circulating on social media regarding orca Morgan.  She is said to be pregnant, something that Loro Parque has not yet confirmed, however, our member organisation Free Morgan Foundation has just released a Facebook post outlining concerns and thoughts over whether this suspected pregnancy is indeed fact.

Read the Free Morgan Foundation post here

Letter of concern to French authorities over Marineland orcas

Dolphinaria-Free Europe has written to Monsieur Christophe Béchu, Minister of Ecology and Madame Sarah El Haïry, Secretary of State for Biodiversity raising our concerns over the proposed move of orcas Inouk, Wikie, and Keijo, from France to Japan.  The orcas are required to be moved ahead of the 2026 deadline in France banning the keeping/public display of cetaceans coming into force.

Read the letter in full here

Court prohibits orca move pending assessment

Following earlier reports of the impending move of three orcas from Marineland, Antibes to Japan, we are pleased to have received an update from members One Voice.

Following their lawsuit, the court has forbidden Marineland to move the three orcas until the independent expert assessment, originally ordered by the Aix-en-Provence Court of Appeal in September 2023, has been undertaken.   Failure to comply with these conditions will result in the judicial court imposing a fine on the marine park.

Read article here

Marineland, Antibes orca transfer confirmed – help by signing the petition

Reports from our member One Voice state that, on 23 December, a dolphin calf was born in Marineland, Antibes and lived for only 2 days.

They also have confirmed that the 3 orcas held at the facility, Inouk, Wikie and Keijo, are expected to be transferred to Japan in early January 2024. We have supported One Voice in their campaign to halt the transfer of these orca. The organisation were due to meet with experts chosen by the court to offer evidence regarding the conditions, however, the Ministry of Ecology prevented this meeting, allowing alternative experts to review the situation and present their findings instead. We will continue to support all efforts to stop the transfer from occurring, however, with the French authorities supporting this, their future is all but decided. It is a very sad situation for these orcas and not the result we had hoped for from this long-fought campaign.

You can help by signing the petition calling on French President Macron to intervene to stop the transfer of Marineland’s three orca to Japan, and instead to try to find suitable sanctuary facilities that can take the animals.