Celebrating dolphins on World Wildlife Day

03/03/2021

World Wildlife Day is a time to celebrate and reflect on the wildlife that call the oceans home.

Sea World likes to create the impression that its dolphins have been rescued and rehabilitated. But most of them were bred into a lifetime of captivity to provide entertainment.

One animal has long captured the human imagination with their intelligence, friendliness and physical grace in the water. We’re talking about the dolphin.

But, unfortunately not all dolphins get to live in the wild where they belong.

Some dolphins are condemned to a life of utter boredom in the confines of a manmade concrete tank or artificial lagoon. Like the 30+ captive dolphins at one of Australia’s last two remaining dolphin venues: Sea World, where they’re bred purely to entertain paying visitors.

The Problem: dolphins are wildlife not entertainers

So-called “Swimming with the dolphins” programs allow visitors to pet captive dolphins in shallow pools or interact with them in deeper water by swimming beside them.

Wild dolphins can swim more than 100km a day – they engage in mating, foraging, fighting and play behavior with their pod members: and they use their echolocation to explore their diverse ocean environment.

In contrast, captive dolphins are forced to swim in endless circles in artificial habitats, interact with unfamiliar dolphins and other species and perform behaviors that are unnatural.

Sea World likes to create the impression that its dolphins have been rescued and rehabilitated. But most of them were bred into a lifetime of captivity to provide entertainment. 

Image thanks to Dean Sewell

The Solution: See dolphins in the wild

Don’t fuel the demand for animal cruelty at Sea World. Here are some of the locations where you can see dolphins in the wild exhibiting their natural behaviours, rather than unnatural circus tricks. In the wild, they’re free to come and go as they please;

  • Nelson Bay
  • Off the rocks at North Bondi (early morning)
  • Julian Rocks, Byron Bay
  • Noosa 
  • Airlie Beach, and throughout the Whitsundays
  • Cruises from Cairns
  • Rainbow Beach and Hervey Bay 

Dolphins can live for over 50 years – which amounts to a life sentence in a small, barren pool.

We want Sea World’s 30+ dolphins to be the last generation of dolphins held captive for tourism in Australia. Only a ban on captive breeding will help bring this about.

To Australians keen to see dolphins our advice is simple, see them in the wild – where they belong.

To learn more:

Take a look at our dolphins in captivity FAQ 

Take a look at the updated Case Against Marine Mammals in Captivity 

 

Wild Dolphins

Top image thanks to Rachel Ceretto

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