Loro Parque’s ‘Encyclopedia of Anti-Captivity Arguments’

image: courtesy Marine Connection

Recently, the Spanish theme park Loro Parque produced a document, the ‘Encyclopedia of Anti-Captivity Arguments,’ in which they attempt to rebut quoted statements from various sources expressing an anti-captivity viewpoint. Many of these statements were made by the undersigned or the organisations we represent. We welcome any opportunity to add clarity to the debate over cetaceans in captivity; however, as professional marine mammal scientists, advocates and educators ourselves, we felt it was necessary to voice our concerns over this document and how our statements were presented.

We note that most of the quoted statements are taken out of context; there are numerous errors in the rebuttals; and several studies are cited in ways that distort their actual results. Given the document’s length, we feel it is not a constructive use of our time to rebut this document in-depth, but rather we will continue to gather scientific evidence, publish peer-reviewed and white papers, and work towards the end of keeping cetaceans in captivity for commercial purposes.

We recommend that those seeking additional information consult SeaWorld Fact Check, where similar statements by Loro Parque’s previous corporate partner, SeaWorld, and the rebuttals that some of us have produced can be found.

We recognise that it is likely the industry will produce more of this type of rhetoric; however, it is our view that the fundamental animal welfare concerns associated with these types of facilities will not be resolved until there are no more cetaceans in concrete tanks.

Signed (alphabetically by organisation)

Naomi A. Rose, PhD
Animal Welfare Institute

Chris Draper
Born Free Foundation

Margaux Dodds
Dolphinaria-Free Europe
Marine Connection

Ric O’Barry
The Dolphin Project

Miriam Martinez, PHD

William Neal
Long Gone Wild

Howard Garrett
Orca Network

Ingrid N. Visser, PhD
Orca Research Trust
Free Morgan Foundation

Silvia Barquero

Cathy Williamson
Whale and Dolphin Conservation
(formerly Whale and Dolphin Conservation Society)

Jürgen Ortmüller
Whale and Dolphin Protection Forum

Another dolphin birth at Planete Sauvage, France

Image courtesy Cetabase.

On May 7th, Planete Sauvage announced that the bottlenose dolphin known as Parel had given birth to a calf weighing around 12kg.

This is the fourth birth at the park and the second calf for Parel who in 2016 gave birth to a male calf known as Nouma.   In 2015 Parel also gave birth to a female calf which was killed after being placed in the hospital pool with her mother, who sustained a violent attack from another dolphin called Lucille. Lucille appeared to be suffering mental stress after being transferred from Harderwijk in the Netherlands, separated from her two calves which remained there.

The park is now running a competition for the public to name the new calf, believed to be male*.

*UPDATE: 16.07.19 – the calf is now confirmed to be male and has been named ‘Kuma’.

Information courtesy Marine Connection

World Day for Captive Dolphins

Today, around 289 dolphins are held in captivity in facilities across the EU.

World Day for Captive Dolphins is held annually on 4 July to remember those confined in captivity and others which continue to be taken from the wild to stock zoos, marine parks and aquariums.

Dolphinaria-Free Europe is committed to ending the keeping of cetaceans in captivity across the continent and you can help by pledging your support for our work.  By working together, hopefully, one day in the future, Europe’s captive dolphins will be retired to seaside sanctuaries and World Day for Captive Dolphins can be assigned to the history books.

Beluga whales Little Grey and Little White receive a warm welcome in Iceland after a 6,000-mile journey from China

Image courtesy SeaLife Trust

Both whales had lived and performed at Changfeng Ocean World for many years but will now live out the remainder of their lives at the world’s first beluga whale sanctuary which is approximately 32,000 sqm with a depth of up to 10m.

The SEA LIFE Trust Beluga Whale Sanctuary was created in partnership with Dolphinaria-Free Europe members Whale and Dolphin Conservation and is the first of its kind to be created for captive cetaceans. Congratulations to all involved and we are delighted that these whales will now live a life free of performing in more natural conditions.

Further details on WDC website

Concern over exports from Dolphin Quest, Bermuda

Although not a direct European situation, Dolphinaria-Free Europe is adding its support to stop a permit application by The Chicago Zoological Society’s Brookfield Zoo to import three bottlenose dolphins from Dolphin Quest Bermuda to Coral World (in the U.S. Virgin Islands) and/or to Brookfield Zoo (in Chicago).

The application put forward lacks precise information on factors that are central to the welfare of these dolphins. Coral World is located in Water Bay, St Thomas – an area so polluted that in 2018 it failed to meet the Clean Water Act standards and deemed unsafe for human swimmers 40% of the time and recently failed this test again by a significant margin. Brookfield Zoo is an indoor tank which would create other problems for dolphins which have spent their first years in a sea pen.

Dolphinaria-Free Europe has contacted the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) expressing our concern over the plans, requesting that the permit to be denied.

Rimini Dolphinarium convicted of animal abuse

Image courtesy: LAVSix years ago DFE members, LAV commenced a case against Rimini dolphinarium following reports of mistreatment of their dolphins. Today LAV has announced that the facility’s vet and director has been found guilty of animal abuse.

This is the first sentence of its kind in not only Italy, but Europe, and we very much welcome this move towards better protection for animals facing abuse in marine parks and zoos.  Congratulations to our colleagues on bringing this case to court and achieving a successful verdict.

Further details can be found on the LAV website