Baltimore Aquarium at Inner HarborBaltimore Aquarium at Inner Harbor
Photo courtesy Wikimedia Commons
The National Aquarium in Baltimore, MD has announced that they are exploring plans to close their dolphin exhibit. The aquarium is considering some big moves forward in light of the rapidly changing public views on cetacean captivity and marine conservation. These plans include possibly building a seaside sanctuary to which the aquarium’s eight dolphins would be relocated, as well as building facilities where rescued marine animals could be rehabilitated and released. The oldest of the dolphins, Nani, who is now 42, was captured from the wild in 1975 and transferred to the National Aquarium from a facility that closed, while the other 7 dolphins were born in captivity.

The aquarium reports that they are working with experts, veterinarians and marine biologists to determine the best next steps for the dolphins.

As the public becomes increasingly aware of the detrimental effects of confining highly intelligent and socially complex cetaceans to barren lives in captivity, the only way forward for aquariums is moving toward becoming solely rescue, rehab and release operations, and teaching the visiting public about these efforts and the importance of marine conservation. Those dolphins and whales who cannot be released back into the wild, as determined by qualified experts, should be allowed to live out their lives in dignity and peace in sea pen sanctuaries, as the National Aquarium is now considering.

We don't yet know where the sea pen sanctuary would be located. However, we hope that the dolphins will be moved to a sea pen with plenty of room to swim in ocean water, away from the Inner Harbor location of the aquarium. Most harbors are filled with noise, pollution and boat traffic that would create a disorienting and potentially dangerous environment for dolphins.

Two years ago, the National Aquarium ended its dolphin shows, citing concerns for the well being of the dolphins. Sea Shepherd applauds the aquarium’s progressive steps to take that concern a step further, with a move that could set a welcome and much overdue precedent for the entire aquarium industry.

CALL TO ACTION: Sea Shepherd is asking our supporters to send polite comments to the National Aquarium thanking them for considering this option and encouraging them to move forward with their plans to close their “Dolphin Discovery” exhibit and relocate the dolphins to a sanctuary. Please also urge the aquarium to explore the possibility of becoming a rehab and release facility.

Let’s make it very clear to the decision-makers at the National Aquarium, and the entire captive industry, that the public will support these efforts!

Please use the form at the bottom of this page to send your message to the National Aquarium: http://www.aqua.org/future/index.html

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