Coral World Ocean Park on St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands, has requested their last permit needed from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers that would allow for the construction of a dolphinarium in Water Bay. With hopes of increased tourism and a boost in economy, proponents of the park are planning to erect a two-story education building, bathhouses, living quarters for employees, decking, and other facilities that will contribute to the removal of nearby corals and seagrass beds. A two-acre dolphin enclosure will house six dolphins captured from within Water Bay for the first year. Once water quality is deemed adequate, more dolphins will be brought into the dolphinarium for public view and interaction among staff members.
Dolphins will typically live up to 40 years in the wild, but when maintained in captivity, their life spans are severely shortened. Although the dolphins living within Coral World will continue to live within the natural currents of the surrounding waters, they will receive little environmental stimulation from their new two-acre habitat. Wild dolphins travel 40 to 100 miles a day in close-knit pods, or family units, when living in the ocean. This will be impossible for those captured for use at Coral World. Not only will they develop overwhelming stress from the separation from their pods, but they will also receive inadequate physical activity within their sea pens.
For these reasons, please comment on the permit application regarding the construction of a new dolphin exhibit enclosure by September 30, 2014, urging USACE directors to reject the permit application requested from Coral World Ocean Park. Protect dolphins and other marine animals from a life of confinement and encourage others to support their natural existence in the wild.
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Jacksonville District
ATTN: Edgar Garcia
400 Fernandez Juncos Avenue
San Juan, PR 00901