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India to ban dolphinariums

After many years of campaigning to stop captive dolphin shows in India, WDC is delighted by the Indian government’s announcement that it will not allow the building of dolphinariums in India, and that they will shortly be banned altogether.

India’s Minister for Environment and Forests, Jayanthi Natarajan said that India will not permit dolphinariums to be built on the grounds that they contravene the country’s Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, a decision that comes just days after the Minister received a letter from WDC (signed by 60 scientists and other groups) calling, once more, for a ban.

“It seems our calls for action on this issue have been listened to and we would like to congratulate the Indian government for its highly progressive stance on the controversial issue of dolphin captivity”, said Cathy Williamson captivity programme manager at WDC. “Dolphins survive poorly in captivity and are subject to stress, aggression from pool mates, and premature death.”

WDC first began campaigning to achieve a national ban on dolphinariums and dolphin trade in India in the late 1990s, following a disastrous attempt to keep captive dolphins in the country at a dolphinarium near Chennai. All three Black Sea bottlenose dolphins imported from Bulgaria died within a few months of the attraction opening.

Since then, WDC has worked with Indian and international partners, including Wildlife Protection Society of India, Federation of Indian Animal Protection Organisations and Humane Society International – India, to block proposals from around India for more of these facilities which threaten the welfare and conservation of dolphins.

India lists all whales, dolphins and porpoises in the schedules of its Wildlife Protection Act, prohibiting their killing and capture. A ban on the establishment of dolphinariums and imports from overseas would extend that protection to wild dolphin populations in other parts of the world such as Japan, where dolphins are captured alive for sale to aquariums in cruel drive hunts.

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