Dolphins held in captivity - Denmark
There is one dolphinarium in Denmark, The Fjord and Baelt Center, which reportedly holds four harbour porpoises. Three of the four harbour porpoise at the centre originate from the wild, they were found entangled in fishing nets on the local beach and brought back to the centre for rehabilitation. Perhaps deemed unreleasable, they remain in captivity for public shows and displays for entertainment.
In addition to dolphins, in 1997 two harbour porpoises, a male and a female, were found entangled and brought into the centre. In 2004 another female, entangled harbour porpoise, barely a year old, was brought into the centre . The eldest female has twice become pregnant: the first calf she bore in 2006 was a stillborn; while the second, born in August 2007, remains at the centre to this current date.
The Fjord and Baelt Center, is only approved as a research centre not as a dolphinarium. The Center conducts research using these harbour porpoises by training them to detect fishing nets in the water to reduce entanglements. Sadly, it’s unlikely these porpoises will ever be able to use their skills in the wild and similar research is also being conducted on wild cetaceans, lessening the need for captive studies.
Denmark’s dolphinaria are included in the national zoo law and Denmark is a Party to ASCOBANS (Agreement on the Conservation of Small Cetaceans of the Baltic, North East Atlantic, Irish and North Seas) which aims to maintain and achieve favourable conservation status for small cetaceans throughout the agreement area. More information on ASCOBANS can be found at http://www.ascobans.de/.