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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,...
Orcas at the seabed

The secrets of orca beach life

Rubbing on smooth pebbles is a generations-old cultural tradition for a particular group of orcas...

A look Inside The Tanks

Valentin - orca held at Marineland Antibes, France

 

Recently launched on YouTube, Jonny Meah’s short documentary, Inside the Tanks, presents a balance of views on the keeping of whales and dolphins in captivity, centred on the one of only two facilities to keep orcas in captivity in Europe, Marineland, in the French Mediterranean resort of Antibes.

Jonny accompanies marine biologist Dr Ingrid Visser, as she photographs and documents behaviour and injury among the whales and dolphins held at the facility, expressing her disgust at their incarceration and how unnatural their lives are. She talks him through how captivity leads to stereotypies developing among captive whales and dolphins, causing them to chew on walls and bars and damaging their teeth, as well as injuries such as rake marks they inflict on one another, unable to escape from the stress and aggression caused by their close confinement.

In an interesting twist, the documentary features an in-depth and first time interview on the topic with the Zoological Director of Marineland Antibes, Jon Kershaw. Perhaps surprisingly, although clearly dedicated to the continued keeping of whales and dolphins in captivity and somewhat flummoxed by SeaWorld ending the captive breeding of orcas, Jon agrees with many of Ingrid’s concerns about what happens to whales and dolphins in captivity, noting that public opinion has led Marineland to alter their dolphin shows.

The documentary is particularly interesting given the recent passing of a governmental decree banning breeding of captive whales and dolphins in France which will also end imports and swimming with dolphins programmes.

Inside The Tanks is well worth a watch.

Photo: Valentin, now deceased, at Marineland © Anne-Sophie Ring

About Cathy Williamson

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