With a peppy
movement the dolphin breaks through the surface of the crystal-clear
water, swirls like it was weightless through the air and spins around
its own axis before it plunges elegantly into the blue wet again. The
sun stands upon the azure horizon like an overripe orange. It is
windless; the palms bend gracefully over the small sandy beach. Only
the hum of the circulation pumps destroys the postcard idyll. The
trainer knees in front of the gigantic mural painting with a bucket
full of dead fish. Loud music from tape accompanies the dolphin show;
the audience claps enthusiastically. But how does the life of the
show dolphins really look like? The never-ending noise of the filter
pumps and the beats of the show music that they can´t escape from
cause strain and fear to the sea mammals. The chemic consistence of
their environment makes them sick.
The artificial sea
water, made from chlorine, water and salt, causes mycosis and
irritations of the mucosa. The permanent addition of vitamins,
fungicidal agents, hormones and antibiotics keeps them alive in the
environment far from nature. A life, which is stamped by chronic
boredom, in a cramped and dull basin.
In freedom dolphins
live in a diversified three-dimensional habitat. They dive down to
several hundred meters and cover great distances. In captivity only
the unchanging shows break through the monotony. It happens that
animals eat the joint compound of there aseptic basins due to boredom
or swallow objects that fell into the water and die from that. Many
dolphins show constant, unchanging and stereotypical swimming
movements, an abnormal behaviour generated by captivity.
Dolphins have an
extraordinary sonar system, which means that they send out sonic
signals that come back as an echo when impinging onto an object. Like
this, the dolphins can take perception of the size, form, type,
movement and distance of an object. The so called clicking sounds
enable them to locate their food, recognize enemies and even to be
oriented in complete darkness.
But in captivity this
acoustic eye becomes the sea mammals´ fate. The sent sounds
immediately impinge onto boarders. The dolphins must feel like in a
mirrored gallery when using their sonar in the dolphinariums.
endeavours you take, the keeping of sea mammals in captivity will
always pose problems, because the keeping of creatures under cramped
circumstances that are used to huge open vastnesses, is an antagonism
Giorgio Pilleri, manager
of the brain-anatomic institute of the University of Bern
In freedom, dolphins
live in huge groups, so-called schools. The social structure of these
groups is very distinct. Dolphins carry their sick fellows and bring
them to the surface for breathing. They also exert as accoucheuses.
They patronize the expectant mother and bump the newborn to the
surface. In captivity this sophisticated social structure collapses
and is reduced to general mobbing. The weakest animals are being
subordinated, agitated and tyrannized. Their situation is hopeless.
They can´t neither hide, nor flee. Captured with their adversaries,
they suffer from permanent stress.
Who would wonder
facing these circumstances that a great number of dolphins in
captivity die from stress-related diseases like gastric ulcers and
heart attacks. In general you can see that the average life
expectancy of dolphins in captivity is a lot less than in freedom. A
study of the International Marine Mammal Association comes to the
result that dolphins in captivity have an average life expectancy of
14 years, whereas their fellows in the wilderness have one of 29,8
opinion is that the keeping of dolphins is a mental and psychical
torture that can not be justified. Therefore we stand for the closure
of all dolphinariums.
animal public claims:
- No more imports of
dolphins for dolphinariums, no matter if the animals have been taken
from wilderness or are re-breedings
- A law against breeding
of dolphins in captivity.
reintroduction to the wilderness of the animals, as far as possible,
the placement of the dolphins in separated lagoons in their natural
environment, the ocean.