Sea World’s new owners must end captive dolphin breeding

09/12/2020

World Animal Protection is calling on BGH Capital, the new owners of Sea World Gold Coast, to ban captive dolphin breeding.

Research* conducted this month revealed a 2% decline in acceptability of dolphin shows since this time last year, with 66% of Australians preferring to see dolphins in the wild.

Top image: Dean Sewell

Today Village Roadshow Limited announced shareholders had accepted BGH Capital’s takeover bid, meaning the private equity firm are now responsible for Sea World, one of the world’s largest dolphin venues, housing about 30 captive dolphins.

The social acceptability of dolphin venues is declining due to the cruelty of a lifetime in captivity.

Research* conducted this month revealed a 2% decline in acceptability of dolphin shows since this time last year, with 66% of Australians preferring to see dolphins in the wild.

Head of Campaigns at World Animal Protection, Ben Pearson said:

“A captive breeding ban at Sea World will make this the last generation of dolphins bred to suffer in captivity.

“Breeding more dolphins that can live up to 50 years is unjustifiable given the cruelty involved and the declining social acceptability of dolphin captivity.

“Village Roadshow have turned down genuine discussion with us on this issue, so we look forward to seeing if BGH Capital will be more open to hearing our solutions.”

Last month we publicly called on BGH Capital to do the right thing by dolphins, should they takeover Village Roadshow, with a giant mural near their offices in Melbourne and a full-page ad in the Australian Financial Review. However, the mural was painted over after only four days.

With our supporters’ help we, along with Action for Dolphins and World Cetacean Alliance have publicly campaigned for a ban on captive dolphin breeding in Australia for years.

Last year, Dolphin Marine Conservation Park (DMCP) in Coffs Harbour announced they would end captive breeding, and we are working together on a sea sanctuary project to house their existing dolphins in a semi-open sea enclosure.

Sea World is now the only venue in Australia where captive breeding still takes place.

New Zealand Marine Biologist, Dr. Ingrid Visser said:

“The phasing out of captive dolphins will bring Australia one step closer to formally keep in line with evolving international practice.

“Increasingly, businesses are changing their practices to reflect the evolution in understanding that captivity has a negative effect on the welfare of dolphins and does not effectively contribute to their conservation."

The tide is also turning when it comes to the companies that facilitate bookings at dolphin venues around the world. Major travel brands including TripAdvisor and Booking.com have already committed to stop selling tickets to dolphin shows and encounters. Governments are also acting. Last year, Canada banned dolphin captivity and breeding, and in September, the French Government announced that dolphin breeding would no longer be allowed at marine parks.

Thank you to over 22,000 people from Australia and New Zealand for signing our petition calling on the Queensland Government to ban captive breeding at Sea World and begin work on a sea sanctuary for the dolphins who cannot be released into the wild.

You can be a voice for dolphins by signing our pledge to only see dolphins in the wild

*Research conducted by Pure Profile (December 2019 and December 2020), who surveyed 1,000 Australians population proportionate to each state/territory. Statistics are rounded to closest whole percent.