Veera, the female dolphin originally from the closed Särkänniemi dolphinarium in Finland has died at Oltramare, Italy. Upon closure of the Finnish facility, Veera along with Delfi, Leevi and Eevertti were moved to Attica Park, Greece where sadly in 2017 Delfi died. In August 2020 Veera was moved from Greece to Oltramare where she died just a few days ago on 1 June 2021, reportedly of cardiocirculatory arrest, the same condition that caused the death of Delfi.
In August 2018 associate of DFE, Viivi Ahola recorded Veera’s story in a thought-provoking piece entitled ‘Can we now finally wake up and see that we are not alone?‘. Veera was born in the wild, taken into captivity for public display. She sadly never had the opportunity to experience some sort of wild reality again in her lifetime, it is our belief that no dolphin should face the same fate as Veera, to die in a tank far away from the ocean into which they were originally born.
In 2019 DFE called on the public to support our appeal to the Canadian Government to stop the transfer of two beluga whales from Marineland, Canada to L’Oceanografic, Spain. Since that time we have regularly corresponded with both the Fisheries Minister, Bernadette Jordan, and the Spanish authorities concerned over this issue.
We are pleased to report that following this long appeal, we have received confirmation from the Spanish authorities that the importation of the two belugas will not take place. Although we very much welcome this news, we will of course remain vigilant, as this does not mean Spain will not consider imports in the future.
We want to thank all who supported this effort by writing to the Canadian Government. In the case of this proposed import, your action has helped get the result we were working towards.
Following an investigation in 2015 by the Ministry of Agriculture and Nature, a report found that the dolphins at the facility were being used for performances that were deemed entertainment having no educational value. Harderwijk has now said that they will change the format of their shows for the dolphins and also plan to send eight of them, along with two sea lions and two walruses to Hainan Ocean Paradise, China.
Following our previous communications with Bernard Clerfayt, Minister for Animal Welfare in Brussels, we are delighted that a ban on keeping cetaceans in captivity has been passed for the Brussels Capital region. Copies of this legislation can be found here.
DFE is continuing to liaise with Ben Weyts and Victoria Austraet with regards to the proposal for a ban in the Flanders region, the only region with a facility holding captive dolphins (Boudewijn Sea Park in Bruges). The Animal Welfare Council are currently reviewing the proposal and we eagerly await their comments which will be produced in a study by early 2022.
Further to our last report regarding potential plans to move the remaining orcas from Marineland, Antibes to China, DFE member One Voice has been liaising with French authorities over this issue.
As France moves towards ending the display of cetaceans for entertainment, rumours are circulating that two Chinese parks are considering approaching facilities in several countries, including France, to obtain orcas which is very concerning and something that must be challenged.