The 12 dolphins – mostly bred in captivity - are confined to indoor, chlorinated tanks all year round. Sadly, at least 60 dolphins have died there since the Zoo opened in 1969.
Kolmården Zoo is located on the coast in south-eastern Sweden and is the largest zoo in Scandinavia.
Exactly when the shows will end is unclear, but Kolmården has made the decision in principle to invest more in the conservation of endangered animal species and will therefore eventually close the dolphinarium.
Lina Dahl, campaign manager for wild animals in World Animal Protection Sweden, said:
“ Together, we have worked for a long time to stop the dolphin shows. Now it is important that the dolphins can live as good and natural lives as possible.
Together, we’re calling on Kolmården's owners to:
1. Ensure that Kolmården's dolphins can come to an dolphin-friendly sanctuary where they can live as natural a life as possible.
2. Support conservation projects with dolphins and other marine mammals that live in their natural habitats.
3. Contribute to the development of the World Zoo Organization (WAZA) and the European Zoo Organization (EAZA) higher standards of welfare for marine mammals. Clear guidelines are needed to support conservation projects, which means that dolphins and other marine mammals are not kept in captivity and used for entertainment.
The closure of Sweden's first and hopefully last dolphinarium, is a sign the tide of public opinion is turning against keep dolphin’s captive for entertainment.
Sandra Jönsson, expert on wild animals in World Animal Protection Sweden, said:
“Kolmården's decision appears to be part of a positive trend and we will hopefully see a decrease in other European countries exhibiting dolphins as well… Going to watch dolphins respectfully in the wild is a much more animal-friendly alternative than watching dolphin shows in dolphinariums. ”
In early 2021, Tenerife-La Gomera marine area in southwest Tenerife, Spain, was awarded a prestigious title as the first Whale Heritage Site in Europe, showcasing a great alternative to cruel wildlife attractions.
Whale Heritage Sites are a global accreditation scheme developed by the World Cetacean Alliance and supported by World Animal Protection, that recognises outstanding destinations that offer and celebrate responsible and sustainable wild whale and dolphin watching.