Dolphin Discovery is the largest owner and operator of dolphin parks in the world with over 24 parks in nine countries. According to the About Us section of their website, they are a company with an “ecological conscience” that promotes a “responsible relationship” with marine life as well as conservation. At Dolphin Discovery, you can pay to swim with dolphins, and for a premium price, a captive dolphin will pull you through the water as you hold onto their fins! Each of their dolphin experiences also includes a “kiss” along with “hugs and caresses” — you know, that sounds a lot like when we were kids and told to hug and kiss our relatives hello at family gatherings. It’s probably even less fun for the dolphins who spend their entire lives in tanks that are much too small, forced to perform for food, and have no choice but to live in a highly stressful environment.
And Dolphin Discovery is now looking to open another facility in the Caribbean Island of St. Lucia. While opening a new facility is a terrible idea in itself, the location is even worse: Dolphin Discovery wants to open their new park within Pigeon Island National Landmark, a national park.
According to a petition on Care2, a group of investors is on the island right now discussing a proposal to keep dolphins in captivity at Pigeon Island. The proposal includes the construction of a restaurant, gift shop, and swimming pool on Pigeon Island, which may result in the desecration of the military cemetery and who knows how much more damage to Pigeon Island National Landmark.
In an open letter to the Prime Minister of St. Lucia, Robert J. Devaux, the Founding Director of the St. Lucia National Trust, wrote: “the proposed facility will destroy the essence of Pigeon Island: it will interrupt the tranquillity, the unspoiled beauty, and the ambiance. Pigeon Island has an energy that feeds the soul, but because you can’t measure that or put a price on it, it is easily dismissed.” He also highlighted the inhumane nature of dolphin captivity and how the public is increasingly opposed to facilities that force marine animals to perform.
As an island that relies heavily on tourism, not only would Dolphin Discovery’s proposed facility destroy the natural beauty of Pigeon Island, it would also potentially have a lasting negative impact on the island’s major source of income.
The local community of St. Lucia has also voiced their opposition to the marine park. Stand in solidarity with their community by signing this petition urging Prime Minister Chastanet to put a stop to this before it’s too late.
Image source: Igor Zh/Shutterstock