It is always heartbreaking to hear about an animal dying in captivity. But this is a rare occasion where that death can be turned into something positive. A petition launched on Care2 targeting Dolphinaris Arizona is calling for signatures to help save other dolphins held in the dolphinarium, by giving them back their freedom.
Alia was a 10-year-old bottlenose dolphin who was kept in captivity by Dolphinaris Arizona as entertainment for visitors. The dolphinarium has refused to release details of her death. One of the fears for having dolphins in Arizona is the risk of a deadly fungal disease called Valley Fever, especially because the stress of living in captivity weakens their immune systems.
Alia was observed acting strangely over the final days before her death and many fear she had Valley Fever and that this could have passed on to the other dolphins. Alia is the second dolphin to have died at the dolphinarium over the space of eight months; Bodie was only seven years old when he died in 2017. We need to make sure that the fate of these two dolphins isn’t repeated by the other dolphins kept by Dolphinaris Arizona.
Care2 writer Alicia Graef said, “Dolphins aren’t cute little playthings, performers or ambassadors; they’re highly intelligent, social, far-ranging predators. Sadly they are continuously treated like commodities by the captivity industry, who are taken from the wild, bred in captivity and shipped around with little regard to their wellbeing. Ultimately, they spend their entire lives being deprived of everything that would enable them to truly thrive.”
Bottlenose dolphins typically live for at least 40 years when in the wild. It isn’t difficult to see the impact of captivity on these animals with Alia’s much shorter life. And as much as we love dolphins and think they are beautiful animals that we want to see and touch, dolphins just aren’t meant to live as human entertainment.
So what can we do to help? We can choose to opt for animal-free entertainment. We can boycott marine and theme parks supporting animals in captivity, as well as their sponsors. And we can spread awareness of the damage these parks do to these animals who should live in our seas and oceans, not in tanks.