Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Whale Wednesday

In Taiji this week

The waters of the  cove remained blue all week with no killing.  That's the good news.

The bad news...
Yesterday a buyer from Aspro International, one of the largest operators of Marine parks in Europe purchased 6 bottle-nosed dolphins captured in Taiji 3 weeks ago.  The dolphins were loaded into airline transfer containers likely to end up in marine parks in Europe.

Aspro International operates 41 leisure and entertainment parks in Europe.  Over half of these are thought to be marine parks.

For more information, click HERE

To sign petition, click HERE

A couple weeks ago I talked about the controversy with the 18 beluga whales in Russia that were scheduled to be transported to various marine parks.  If you missed that post, you can find it here
This continues to be a huge issue gaining continued attention in the past weeks.  
These 18 belugas are currently being held in holding pens in the Black Sea.

There are approximately 150,000 beluga whales in the wild, considered nearly threatened.  There are 31 kept in captivity, down from 40 in the 90s.  After 50 years of holding belugas captive, breeding has been unsustainable. 

It has been proven that the lifespan of bottle-nosed dolphins and orcas held in captivity is shorter than that of the wild.  With no predators, pollution or hunters, over half of belugas held in captivity die by the time they are 8 years old, less than half of their life expectancy.  Stress and unhappiness is thought to be the contributing factors to their short lifespans.

For more info, check this out.  Public comments are open until Friday.

Why do I go on about this every week?  While it is an awesome experience to see these whales and dolphins close up, it is torture for these creatures.  Their intelligence is close to that of humans and they are kept in tanks smaller than the average living room for a human if done by scale.  

Prison inmates have opportunities to leave their cells throughout the day.  Imagine living in a prison cell and never being able to imagine your innocent and living that way.

Or think of it this way, imagine your dog, a highly intelligent, social animal, being locked in a bathroom all day, every day.  They are "walked" in a small circle of the room for exercise and forced to do tricks for food.

Would that stress you out?

These parks claim that this is for research, but how can you research such an unnatural situation?  Really?


  1. Wow! I had no idea. This takes me back to the days when I went to Sea World. Given how intelligent dolphins are, this news doesn't surprise me. Well, it does, but yeah, so thanks for highlighting this. :)

    1. I visited Sea World many times until I started to see things from a different point of view. Now that I understand the conditions of the animals, I don't go.

  2. You know, I have often wondered about those that are injured, do they ever nurse them until better and set them free again?

    1. I think it depends on what kind of animal it is and who makes the decision. The Sea World in Orlando releases some manatees back but they also keep some "on display". I have a feeling they keep most of the dolphins unless another agency intervenes.

  3. You are doing a good job of highlighting something that many of us don't fully understand. I echo the comment from Gossip Grl, do they ever release animals back to the wild? We have a sanctuary near us for seals. Many of these are washed up on the beaches and go to the sanctuary to be nursed back to health. Those that are fit enough to survive are released back into the wild.

    1. Thanks Sue. I hope they are released but I think it depends on the situation. Manatees are usually released but I think if it's up to Sea World officials, they probably keep the dolphins. Lately I have read that in some cases, a separate agency decides. It would be good to have a neutral party intervene.

  4. I also didn't realize how whales were so mistreated. My husband took our boys swimming with the dolphins in Mexico last winter (while I took photos), and I never thought about their living conditions. Julie

  5. It is heartbreaking to know their lifespans in captivity are so much shorter. :( I admit that I have enjoyed the opportunities I've had to see the creatures up close, but it always does feel like cheating and sad for them.

  6. Hi Heather,
    I'm very much relating to your alarming and heartfelt passion for those cherished creatures of the sea. I remember, way back when, when the first Orca was placed into the Vancouver aquarium. There was an awful lot of protest and quite rightly, over the poor creature being held in such a confined space.
    You take care. In peace, Gary

  7. If you hadn't posted this, I wouldn't have heard about any of this. It didn't occur to me that fish are less happy at Sea World than in the sea.

  8. I completely agree with you. Marine parks have their place and are certainly educational for children, but I don't think they need to have mammals in them - and they certainly don't need ones trained to do tricks for the public. That's just slavery and mean.
    Keep up the posts and your good work. :-)