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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....
WDC's Ed Fox, Chris Butler-Stroud and Carla Boreham take a message from the ocean to parliament

Taking a message from the ocean to parliament

It's a sad fact that whales and dolphins don't vote in human elections, but I...
Minke whale © Ursula Tscherter - ORES

The whale trappers are back with their cruel experiment

Anyone walking past my window might have heard my groan of disbelief at the news...
Boto © Fernando Trujillo

Meet the legendary pink river dolphins

Botos don't look or live like other dolphins. Flamingo-pink all over with super-skinny snouts and...
Tokitae in captivity

Talking to TUI – will they stop supporting whale and dolphin captivity?

Last Thursday I travelled to Berlin for a long-anticipated meeting with TUI senior executives. I...

Earth Day Q&A with Waipapa Bay Wines’ marketing director, Fran Draper

We've been partnered with Waipapa Bay Wines since 2019 so for this year's Earth Day,...

Sea World accused of using drugs to control ’its’ whales

Reports have emerged that in a onging court battle documents have surfaced that reveal that SeaWorld has used drugs on several killer whales with benzodiazepines — a class of drug that includes Valium and XanaxThe documents were filed as a sworn affidavit (available on the Buzzfeed website) in a 2011 legal wrangle between SeaWorld and Marineland of Canada.

The use of drugs to mould captive dolphns to their concrete envionments is nothing new. WDC previously revealed (July 2012) that data obtained from the German Nuremberg dolphinarium, showed that in over 50% of cases where drugs were used to control behaviour, aggression amongst the dolphins was the stated cause.
 
WDC discovered that in Nuremberg, in addition to Valium, aggression was also controlled with hormonal treatment, mostly of Megestat, a female hormone mostly administered to the male dolphins. 
 
Access to this previously hidden data was only possible following a legal victory by WDC (the first of its kind) at the Appeal Court in Munich, Germany, in 2011. The court found in WDC’s favour by granting access to all information relating to the display and husbandry of captive dolphins at Nuremberg Zoo. The Nuremberg data suggests that Diazepam is not only given as an appetizer but used to interfere with the animals’ natural behaviour.

In 2006 and 2007 several dolphin calves and an adult female died at the Nuremberg Zoo. WDC took action and asked representatives of the zoo, as well as the City of Nuremberg (who have responsibility for the Zoo) for access to all data relating to the display of dolphins for an independent review. The request and access was denied. Representatives at the Zoo had argued that the public had no right to access such information, claiming that keeping dolphins in captivity has no impact on dolphins in the wild. However, WDC was able to demonstrate how keeping dolphins in captivity does relate to the conservation of the species in the wild, successfully arguing that the continued removal of wild dolphins for use in Zoos impacts upon wild populations.

In 2012 WDC reported that pprevious veterinary reports regarding the cause of death of two dolphins at a Swiss dolphinarium, Connyland, had been thrown in to doubt following the leak of a report which suggested the eight-year-old Shadow and 30-year old Chelmers died from brain damage after an overdose of antibiotics, and were the seventh and eight dolphins to die in Connyland in the past three years.

The recent revelations about SeaWorld are just another factor adding to the calls that SeaWorld should end the captive display of whales and dolphins. WDC has been leading the calls for the captive display industry to change once and for all.
 
[<a href=”//storify.com/ButlerStroud/the-travel-companies-that-underpin-seaworld-and-wh” target=”_blank”>View the story “The travel companies that underpin SeaWorld and whale and dolphin captivity” on Storify</a>]