Beluga whale dies at Spanish facility

image: Mendar Bouchali

Male beluga whale Kairo has passed away at Valencia’s L’ Oceanografic. He was moved from Mar de Plata aquarium in Argentina in 2003, shortly after L’Oceanografic opened. Over the years, he fathered at least 2 calves, one that died at 25 days old in 2006 and another born in 2016, which is still living.

In 2019, former Fisheries Minister Jonathan Wilkinson approved permits to move two beluga whales from Marineland in Canada to L’Oceanogràfic as part of a research project, however, Dolphinaria-Free Europe pushed for this move to be stopped and to date, there have been no transfers. However, this latest whale death leaves female 26-year-old Yulka and her son Kylu, which is a real concern as  L’ Oceanografic may push to import male belugas.

Kolmården Zoo dolphinarium to close

image courtesy Daniel Rolke, Djuraättsalliansen

For decades Dolphinaria-Free Europe member Daniel Rolke, chairman of Swedish-based organisation Djuraättsalliansen (Animal Rights Alliance), has campaigned to close the dolphinarium at Kolmården having personally protested against the facility since 1993.  We are therefore delighted to have received news from him earlier today that the dolphinarium is to close.

Daniel comments “Kolmården must now be accountable and close down the dolphinarium quickly and in a responsible way for the 12 remaining dolphins. It is important that they immediately stop any breeding at the dolphinarium, to ensure no new dolphins are born at the facility in the meantime.  We are very happy that Kolmården Zoo is choosing to close the dolphinarium and the wishes we have held for decades will now become a reality.”

Dolphinaria-Free Europe will continue to support Djuraättsalliansen ongoing as plans for the future of the dolphins are discussed.

Changes to animal welfare attitudes in Spain

Spain’s Social Rights Minister, Ione Belarra announced during a recent press conference that as part of proposed changes to animal welfare laws, the country will be converting zoos and dolphinariums into recovery centres for native species. As Spain holds beluga whales which are non-native, how this will impact the public display industry is as yet unclear.

Further details and video via member Marine Connection

New campaign highlights concerns for orca Moana at Marineland, Antibes

Image: courtesy One Voice

Member organisation One Voice has launched a campaign to highlight the deteriorating conditions in which the orcas at Marineland, Antibes are living in, and to also voice their concern over the current condition of 10-year-old Moana.

Moana, and the other orcas at the facility – Inouk (his uncle), Wikie (his mother) and Keijo (his brother), show stress-related, repetitive behaviours and now Moana has sub-dermal wounds which are very concerning. One Voice has filed a cruelty complaint against Marineland; for the deterioration in water quality and conditions in which the orcas are housed, requesting an independent investigation be carried out and for a precautionary foreclosure which would bring about an end to orca shows at the facility and prohibit Moana and the others from being transported to any other facility.

Read the One Voice article here
Recent video footage of Moana 

Travel company Expedia to cease promoting dolphin and whale ‘experiences’

Dolphinaria-Free Europe celebrates the news that travel company Expedia has announced that, having adjusted their animal welfare policy with regards to attractions/activities they offer, they will no longer offer activities featuring captive dolphins and other cetaceans. They plan to implement the policy by early 2022 and are giving providers 30 days to comply with the updated policy or face removal from their site.

Expedia has said they will however feature seaside sanctuaries when established, which offer captive cetaceans a permanent living environment provided they are accredited and do not feature either interactions or performances. This follows the decision by Virgin Holidays in 2019 to cease selling tickets to attractions and experiences featuring cetaceans and we sincerely hope that this move will encourage other tour/travel companies, such as TUI, to follow suit. We would like to send our congratulations to member organisation World Animal Protection and others who have campaigned for several years to achieve this positive result for captive cetaceans, this is indeed a huge step forward as Expedia promotes several European facilities holding cetaceans including l’Oceanografic, Valencia and Loro Parque, Tenerife.

Asterix dolphins to remain at Kolmarden

image courtesy Djurrättsalliansen

In February this year when Parc Asterix, France closed their dolphin show, two of the dolphins were transferred to Kolmarden Wildlife Park in Sweden. At the time, it was thought that one of the dolphins would be moved from Kolmarden to Germany at a later date, however, it is now confirmed that both dolphins will remain at the Swedish facility.

Kolmarden says this decision has been made as the dolphins have bonded well with the others, and they now wish to keep the ‘pod’ intact. However, by cancelling the transfer of one of the males from France, could it be that the park is hoping this may result in a successful pregnancy, or is it simply to avoid any potential bad publicity for moving an older dolphin. In the meantime, DFE will continue to support member organisation Djurrättsalliansen in its attempt to address this ongoing situation.