Dolphins are one of the most intelligent, sociable, and widely admired species on our planet. They form extremely close relationships with their pod members in the wild. Mothers and babies remain together constantly for between three to six years, and these animals’ strong altruistic bonds will also lead them to follow a pod member who has been stranded. The incredible story of Sampal – a bottlenose dolphin who was captured in 2009 off the coast of South Korea, and found her way back to her family after escaping from captivity in 2013 – demonstrates just how strong and loving the relationships between dolphins can be.
In the wild, these animals can swim between 40 to 100 miles a day, and experience plenty of mental stimulation, social enrichment, and good old-fashioned fun! They have also demonstrated impressive cognitive abilities. Their striking similarity to humans in this regard even led the government of India to declare them “non-human persons” in 2013, with a number of rights and protections against slaughter and abuse. Organizations such as the Nonhuman Rights Project, Sonar, and the Dolphin Project are endeavoring to have dolphins’ personhood recognized in other countries too.
Sadly, the mental and physical health of dolphins is greatly damaged when they are forced to reside in captivity. A life spent learning inane tricks, begging for food, and being forced to beach themselves for the amusement of humans – in an enclosure that represents only 0.0001 percent of the total area they would have available to them in their natural habitats – is no life at all for these breathtaking creatures. Early deaths, unusual illnesses, and psychological issues are all too often experienced by dolphins and other highly intelligent marine animals who are forced to dwell in marine park tanks.
Luckily, more and more people around the world are waking up to this fact, and the cetacean captivity industry is slowly dying. For this reason, we were extremely disappointed to learn that The Scientific Center in Kuwait is planning to construct a new dolphinarium as part of its expansion plan over the next three years. Luckily, a campaign has been launched on Care2 to help stop this alarming scheme.
The authors of the petition state, “The world is taking steps toward ending (dolphin captivity), while The Scientific Center of Kuwait is planning to take a step backwards.” Instead of a dolphin facility, they propose building a “botanical garden of native plants from Kuwait and the Middle East, with gardening and workshop opportunities to better educate the youth on the importance of sustainability and acting locally and thinking globally.” The fact is, keeping dolphins in captivity for the sake of our entertainment goes against our responsibilities as humans. Before we destroy life as we know it with our greed and our disrespectful attitudes.
You can sign the petition here. Don’t forget to share the petition and this post afterward to help ensure that a new generation of dolphins will not suffer a lifetime of misery in The Scientific Center’s planned dolphinarium! To learn more about why dolphins should be free, read the articles below.
- 10 Signs Whales and Dolphins Do NOT Belong in Tanks
- 4 Reasons Dolphins Deserve to Swim Free, not Suffer in Hunts or Aquariums!
- Skip the Circus, Marine Park and Zoo: Here are 10 Humane Ways to Interact With Wildlife
Lead Image Source: Wikimedia Commons