Ex Situ Conservation Cannot Save Endangered Cetaceans

image courtesy Marine Connection

In 2018 a workshop was held at a German zoo to discuss ex situ options for cetacean conservation. This led to the creation of the Integrated Conservation Planning for Cetaceans (ICPC), a subgroup of the IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature). The ICPC proposes to integrate ex situ measures with in situ efforts in small cetacean conservation plans, including holding individual animals in semi-natural reserves and artificial enclosures and breeding them in captivity. Although it is of course vital to protect wild cetaceans from threats such as habitat loss and fishing gear entanglement, Dolphinaria-Free Europe (DFE) has profound concerns with the idea of pursuing ex situ (captive) breeding of small cetaceans as a conservation measure for endangered species. To this end we have produced a white paper, ‘The Seaworthiness of Noah’s Ark: Ex Situ Conservation Cannot Save Endangered Cetaceans’, outlining  our position in this regard, which can be read here.