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Helen in captivity
Humpback whale

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Captive dolphin Helen dies at US marine park

Helen, a Pacific white-sided dolphin held captive at SeaWorld Antonio has died. The cause of death has yet to be determined.

Helen, who was at least 33 years old, was born wild and free in the waters off Japan. In 1996, she was rescued after becoming entangled in fishing gear which resulted in severe injuries to her pectoral fins. After recovering, she spent the following 26 years in captivity.

She was held at a marine park in Japan for several years before being moved to the Vancouver Aquarium in 2005 with another dolphin, Hana, who died in 2015. Helen was recently moved to SeaWorld in Texas. At the Vancouver facility she was the only one left after her last tank mate, a false killer whale named Chester, died of what’s thought to have been a bacterial disease.

Keeping whales and dolphins in tanks for human entertainment is cruel and archaic. Canada now has legislation preventing any new whales or dolphins being taken into captivity for entertainment purposes. These intelligent creatures roam for miles each day in the wild but in captivity they are imprisoned. In confinement they suffer stress causing repetitive behaviour, and live shorter lives than they would in the ocean. It is for these reasons that we are encouraging people not to go to see these shows and are asking TUI not to promote them to customers.

We continue our work to provide sanctuaries for captive whales and dolphins.

About George Berry

George is a member of WDC's Communications team and website coordinator.

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