In November 2017, eight dolphins were transferred from the Selwo Marina aquarium in Benalmádena, Spain to other facilities located in the country while their tank was being renovated. The transfer, which was revealed recently, brought two of the dolphins to Madrid Zoo, and six to Aquopolis, a water park in Tarragona, Marine Connection reports. Unfortunately, it soon became clear that the move to Aquopolis apparently had not been thought through at all. There wasn’t sufficient space for the animals in the existing tank at the facility, so it was decided that the six dolphins would be housed in the human wave pool.
The wave pool is an attraction simulating a beach that is meant for families in the amusement park – and as such, should never become home, even a temporary one, to marine mammals. At its deepest point, the pool is only around six feet deep – for context, most dolphins are between six to eight feet long.
Six dolphins – Rocco, Sting, Bravo, Tonet, Rumbo, and Zeus – were forced to share the pool for four months, La Vanguardia reports. From November until March, the animals had to make do in conditions even more unnatural and inadequate than in a typical aquarium.
“The pool did not meet the minimum conditions established for dolphins that spend 80% of their time underwater and can submerge up to 90 meters deep,” said Míriam Martínez of La Fundación para el Asesoramiento y Acción en Defensa de los Animales (FAADA). It was the foundation who reported the issue to the Nature Protection Service (SEPRONA) and requested an inspection.
After the intervention, officials started carrying out weekly inspections to ensure the animals’ well-being – and they soon started legal proceedings on the grounds that the pool is in no way an appropriate place for the cetaceans to live. It was also found out that the company had not requested any authorization before placing the dolphins in the pool.
While this might be a temporary situation for these dolphins, they will eventually have to return to another captive environment. Dolphins are highly intelligent and emotionally complex beings that suffer greatly in captivity. In the wild, they can swim up to 100 miles a day and they spend their lives surrounded by their family pods. Dolphins are so advanced that they have been known to actively stop breathing when in captivity so as to end their own misery. No animal deserves to go through this experience, and it is far past time we all worked to empty the tanks once and for all. You can help by NEVER buying a ticket for an attraction involving captive marine animals and sharing posts like these to show what the inside of captivity is really like.
Image source: akenach/Pixabay