Research no justification for taking porpoises from the wild

Since first being alerted to the fact that Danish facility, Fjord & Baelt had applied for a permit to take further harbour porpoises from the wild for research purposes, Dolphinaria-Free Europe has continued to address this with the relevant authorities and also Fjord & Baelt direct.

Until recently the facility held only one remaining harbour porpoise in their collection, Freya. However in September, two female porpoises were brought into the facility having been bycaught, and in November, they were joined by another male. One of the females has since died.

Fjord & Baelt has carried out research on porpoises in their facility for many years, and it is our belief that to retain further porpoises for research should not be allowed, and if studies are required these should be conducted in-situ in the wild, something which Fjord & Baelt has also has been undertaking successfully for some time.

The facility already use Freya in performances, which even if they deem this to be ‘educational’, is neither necessary nor ethically acceptable. DFE member World Animal Protection has launched a petition asking that the other female porpoise taken in September be released back into the wild and we support this request, as we do for the release of the male taken in November.

It is vital to protect wild porpoise populations and attempts to continue to keep porpoises which potentially could be released back into the wild should be questioned. Dolphinaria-Free Europe has contacted the European Commission requesting that they liaise with the authorities in Denmark on this issue, as the continued capture and keeping of porpoises from the wild, a species protected under the Habitats Directive, really cannot surely be justified.

Death At SeaWorld set to become a drama series

Tilikum the orca, SeaWorld
image courtesy Heather Murphy

Since the book was first published in 2012, David Kirby’s groundbreaking investigative thriller Death at SeaWorld has become a must-read for those interested in the debate surrounding the keeping of killer whales in captivity and specifically, the dedicated fight against the giants of the cetacean public display industry, SeaWorld.

Now due to be made into 10 part tv series by Fremantle this will be a fictionalised adaptation of the true story behind the book. Production is scheduled to begin in late 2021 and promises, like Blackfish, to be a very thought-provoking piece, further exposing the dangers to both animal and human, when confining large, ocean-going predators such as killer whales to tanks for entertainment.

Read the Freemantle release here

Beluga whales released into wider bay area

image courtesy WDC

Following our earlier report on 12 August, DFE is delighted to share the news today that Little White and Little Grey, two belugas brought to Iceland from Shanghai last year for the SEA LIFE TRUST Beluga Whale Sanctuary, are exploring the wider Klettsvik Bay, where the sanctuary is located, for the first time. The sanctuary has been created in partnership with DFE member Whale and Dolphin Conservation (WDC).

Cathy Williamson, WDC’s End Captivity programme lead said; ‘We’re delighted that Little Grey and Little White are now exploring the wider bay and adapting well to their new, natural, stimulating environment. As well as providing a home for Little Grey and Little White, we look forward to welcoming other belugas to the sanctuary and encouraging the development of sanctuaries in other parts of the world.”

Little Grey and Little White’s amazing journey back to the ocean will be told as part of a new two-part feature-length documentary to be shown on ITV this October over consecutive nights, showing the complexities and dedication around the world-first project with comedian and animal lover John Bishop an integral part of the two-year mission.

More details and video footage here

Brussels move to ban dolphinaria

Dolphinaria-Free Europe is supporting plans being put forward by the Government in Brussels to introduce a ban on the keeping of cetaceans in captivity.

Brussels Minister for Animal Welfare, Bernard Clerfayt has proposed the bill, supported by Victoria Austraet, an independent member of Parliament of the Brussels-Capital Region.

The bill is currently in the draft phase and will now be presented to the socioeconomic council and to the Council of State for advice. When this has been done the draft bill can be presented to parliament to vote upon and if successful, this would mean that the keeping of dolphins or whales as attractions for public display would no longer be allowed.

For two belugas, sanctuary – a more natural home

Image: Aaron Chown/PA courtesy WDC

Two beluga whales, Little White and Little Grey, have been transferred to a sanctuary site in Klettsvik Bay, Iceland, following their arrival in the country last year from an aquarium in Shanghai.  The SEA LIFE TRUST Beluga Whale Sanctuary has been established in partnership with DFE member Whale and Dolphin Conservation.

Full report here