Marine park businesses make money by keeping whales and dolphins in tanks, sometimes alone, and force them to perform tricks to entertain people. There are 3,500 dolphins, orcas and beluga whales in captivity today. Many were taken from their families in the wild.
It is not difficult for us to imagine how bored, unhappy and unhealthy whales and dolphins are in captivity; they have lost their freedom and their amazing lives in the sea. They cannot echolocate and enjoy the natural sights and sounds of the ocean with their pods. Their suffering in captivity is obvious – often individuals will swim in endless circles, or hang listlessly at the surface or on the tank floor, some chew on the tank walls or metal bars. Mighty orcas suffer from floppy dorsal fins. They have to live in chlorinated water with strangers, eat dead fish, perform in shows and cannot leave the tiny pool they are imprisoned in.
Not surprisingly, captive whales and dolphins do not live for as long as they do in the wild. Stress can cause them to harm each other, their carers, and members of the public. Whales and dolphins need to be wild and free.
What can we do?
The most important thing is to make sure we, our families and our friends do not buy tickets to see whales and dolphins in captivity. If everyone stops paying to see the shows, the shows would have to stop.
Captive whales and dolphins should be rehomed in more natural sea sanctuaries. With help, some individuals will even be able to get ready for release back to the wild. WDC and the SEA LIFE Trust have created the world’s first whale sanctuary in Iceland to home two beluga whales from captivity in China. Little White and Little Grey are the first belugas to move into our sea sanctuary and there is room for more belugas here.
We are campaigning for all countries to ban the capture of whales and dolphins from the wild.
WDC works hard to spread the word and help people understand that whales and dolphins are sociable, wide ranging creatures who suffer hugely in captivity. We are campaigning for all countries to ban the capture of whales and dolphins from the wild to sell to marine parks, and to phase out the keeping of whales and dolphins in captivity forever.