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An orca named 'Hulk' off Caithness, Scotland

My amazing week watching orcas in Scotland

Orca Watch's 10th anniversary event in the far north of Scotland was exhilarating with a...

Faroes dolphin hunt review – disappointing is an understatement

I wasn't alone in hoping that substantial changes would be made as a result of...
Minke whale - V Mignon

We told them this would happen! Time to halt cruel whale experiments

An ill-conceived and so far ill-fated joint US/ Norwegian experiment to test minke whales' reaction...
Sponging dolphin in Shark Bay

Dolphins who catch fish with shells

Kidzone - quick links Fun Facts Our Goals Curious kids Kids blogs Fantastic fundraisers Gallery...
WDC team at UN Ocean conference

Give the ocean a chance – our message from the UN Ocean Conference

I'm looking out over the River Tejo in Lisbon, Portugal, reflecting on the astounding resilience...
We need whale poo 📷 WDC NA

Whales are our climate allies – meet the scientists busy proving it

At Whale and Dolphin Conservation, we're working hard to bring whales and the ocean into...
Humpback whale underwater

Climate giants – how whales can help save the world

We know that whales, dolphins and porpoises are amazing beings with complex social and family...
Black Sea common dolphins © Elena Gladilina

The dolphin and porpoise casualties of the war in Ukraine

Rare, threatened subspecies of dolphins and porpoises live in the Black Sea along Ukraine's coast....

Dancing beluga show hides reality of capture and captivity

Yesterday’s Mail Online featured a series of, unfortunately, fairly stunning underwater photos from an aquarium in China of a beluga whale show involving circus style acrobatics between captive belugas and animal trainers. Such images published in such a widely read national newspaper only serve to encourage visitation to facilities around the world holding captive whales and dolphins, of which there are thought to be at least 50 in China alone. Meanwhile, they hide the truth behind the capture, international trade and confinement in unnatural conditions that present a significant health and welfare risk to the individuals used in these shows. 

Since 1990, well over 300 belugas have been captured from the wild in Russian waters and exported overseas for the international aquarium industry. Once captured, they may be kept for years in holding tanks awaiting export overseas and experience mortality rates above their wild counterparts, despite the threats faced by belugas in the wild. Belugas are an Arctic species adapted to living in frigid waters at the point of freezing and yet individuals are held all over the world in facilities incapable of keeping them at an appropriate temperature. WDC is working hard to influence potential importers not to display belugas in captivity, including the United States. We are also calling on President Putin to end beluga and orca captures in Russia. 

We are heartened to read so many comments of opposition posted beneath the Mail’s article, but call on the newspaper to end its support of whale and dolphin captivity, for all the welfare and conservation risks it brings. 

About Cathy Williamson

Cathy Williamson was policy manager of our End Captivity Programme until July 2021.