Dolphins Belong in the Wild Not in Aquariums

Captive dolphins often die prematurely due to illnesses and stress that they would not experience in their native habitat.

Captive dolphins often die prematurely due to illnesses and stress that they would most likely not experience in their native habitat.

The Coral World Ocean Park on St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands, is requesting a permit to construct pens to house a dolphinarium. Dolphins can live several decades in the wild but often suffer and die prematurely when maintained in captivity. They travel for hundreds of miles in their native waters; while confined in captivity, they swim in circles all day long. There is little environmental stimulation for them in an aquarium, but there is acoustical stimulation that is harmful to them as sounds rebound off the walls of the aquarium. They would experience no such acoustical assault in their native habitat.

Public awareness of the plight of dolphins confined in dolpinariums has caused some dolphin exhibits to close. In addition, as the public worldwide becomes aware of how dolphins are captured (as seen in the documentary The Cove, filmed in the waters around Japan), the public becomes less and less willing to support dolphinariums.

For these reasons, please write to the permitting section before November 30 urging the director to reject the permit application submitted by Coral World Ocean Park to create a new sea pen for dolphins. Protect these amazing animals by allowing them the freedom to live normal, natural lives. The physical and psychological needs of these intelligent and social animals cannot be provided for in the confines of an aquarium.

District Engineer
Antilles Permits Section
400 Fernandez Juncos Avenue
San Juan, PR 00901

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