Skip to content
All articles
  • All articles
  • About whales & dolphins
  • Create healthy seas
  • End captivity
  • Fundraising
  • Green Whale
  • Kids blogs
  • Prevent deaths in nets
  • Scottish Dolphin Centre
  • Stop whaling
Kiska the orca

Real stories from the dark side of captivity

Since we launched our campaign, we've been talking a lot about what a dark place...
Theo's rubbish collection

WDC Dolphin Defender Theo awarded BBC Climate Champion Award

Kidzone - quick links Fun Facts Our Goals Curious kids Kids blogs Fantastic fundraisers Gallery...
End captivity background

Uncovering the dark side of captivity

Last week we launched our major new campaign to reveal and uncover the dark side...
Bottlenose dolphins © Christopher Swann

On the anniversary of the massacre of 1,423 dolphins, what’s changed?

One year ago today, 1,423 Atlantic white-sided dolphins, including mothers with calves and pregnant females,...
Sperm whale (physeter macrocephalus) Gulf of California. The tail of a sperm whale.

To protect whales, we must stop ignoring the high seas

Almost two-thirds of the ocean, or 95% of the habitable space on Earth, are sloshing...
A dolphin plays in front of the WDC Scottish Dolphin Centre at Spey Bay

Sharing our Spey Bay stories – tell us yours

2022 is Scotland's Year of Stories, a year in which stories inspired by, created or...
Orcas in Australia

Did orcas help rescue entangled humpback whale?

Kidzone - quick links Fun Facts Our Goals Curious kids Kids blogs Fantastic fundraisers Gallery...
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...

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.