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Dolphins in Captivity
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Dolphins in Captivity


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    • 1. Dolphins in captivity / public display enclosures – To be or not to be? Bottlenose Dolphin Tursiops aduncus Indo-pacific Hump-backed Dolphin Sousa chinensis
    • 2. Bottlenose Dolphin ( Tursiops aduncus )
      • Live in pods that number ~ 15 dolphins, but group size varies from solitary bottlenose dolphins up to mixed groups of over 100 to 1000 (Wells, R. and Scott, M. 2002)
      • Shallow coastal waters on the continental shelf and around oceanic islands. Observed to dive to depths of >450m ( Klatsky et. al. 2007)
      • Status: Data deficient, unknown trend (IUCN 2008)
      Solomon Islands
    • 3. Bottlenose Dolphin ( Tursiops aduncus )
      • Most commonly kept dolphin species (800 globally)
      • No dolphinarium in the UK
      • Single-trained bottlenose dolphin $100,000
        • Generates $1,000,000 per year for the marine park
    • 4. Issue:
      • Marine Life Park at Resorts World Sentosa plans to import wild-caught bottlenose dolphins (18) captured from the Solomon Islands
      • Currently there are five Indo-pacific Hump-backed dolphins in the Dolphin Lagoon at Sentosa
      • “ Although the importation of bottlenose dolphins is legal with a permit, animal activists are upset, saying the wild dolphins were not collected sustainably and will not thrive in captivity.”
    • 5. Fact: Indo-pacific Hump-backed Dolphin ( Sousa chinensis)
      • Group size: 3-24 (Leszek Karczmarski, 1999)
      • Waters of the continental shelf and where the water remains shallow (<100 m) (IUCN 2008)
      • Status: Near threatened, decreasing trend (IUCN 2008)
    • 6. Should Singapore allow imports of bottlenose dolphins? Pro-public display lobby Anti-captivity lobby VS
      • Education
      • Research
      • Animal Welfare
    • 7. Education
      • Large graphic displays on dolphin biology, threats and importance of conservation
      • A 2005 public opinion poll conducted by Harris Interactive found the following:
        • 97% of respondents agree that marine life parks, aquariums, and zoos play an important role in educating the public about marine mammals they might not otherwise have the chance to see.
        • 96% agree that marine life parks, aquariums and zoos provide people with valuable information about the importance of oceans, waters, and the animals that live there.
        • 93% agree that visiting a marine life park, aquarium, or zoo can inspire conservation action that can help marine mammals and their natural environment.
        • 93% agree that people are more likely to be concerned about animals if they learn about them at marine life parks, aquariums, and zoos.
      Pro-public display
    • 8. Education
      • Unnatural behaviour portrayed in animal shows sends the wrong message
      Anti-captivity lobby balancing balls on rostrum jumping through hoops
    • 9. Education
      • Polling data not scientific, no systematic sociological analysis conducted
      • In a 1996 poll, 85% of people surveyed in the UK agreed that it is unacceptable to keep whales and dolphins in captivity
      Anti-captivity lobby
    • 10. Research
      • Extensive observations and evaluations conducted to understand reproduction and husbandry in dolphins
      • Male dolphin calf, Splash, was born on 7 Nov 2002
      Pro-public display
    • 11. Research
      • Data obtained from captive dolphins often do not accurately represent conditions in the wild (Kannan, 1997)
      • Captive breeding not successfully due to high infant mortality rate, dolphins imported from wild to sustain dolphin population (Rose, 2004)
      Anti-captivity lobby
    • 12. Welfare
      • Naturalistic setting
        • Undulating floor
        • Fringed with sandy beach and palm trees
      • Seawater teeming with local topical marine life
      • Studies of steroid hormones showed that stress is not an issue (Dolphin Quest/ Sea World study 2000)
      Pro-public display
    • 13. Welfare
      • Too small for normal range; dolphins are deep-diving predators, swim over 50km/day (Connor 2000)
      Anti-captivity lobby
    • 14. Dolphin Lagoon, Sentosa Volume: 30,000,000 litres Surface Area: 8,000 square metres 4km
    • 15. Welfare
      • Too small for normal range; dolphins are deep-diving predators, swim over 50km/day (Connor 2000)
      • Similar mortality rates in captivity compared to wild
      • Increased aggressiveness, susceptibility to infections, gastric ulcers
      Anti-captivity lobby
      • Wild
      • Natural predation
      • Food Shortages
      • By-catch
      • Pollution
      • Marine Park
      • High experienced trainers
      • In-house vet
    • 16. Welfare
      • Ignores impact of capture on complex social grouping in the wild
      • Demand for dolphins from marine parks encourages native fishermen to capture using unsophisticated methods
        • Rounded up into nets, dragged onto boats and transferred to shallow pens
        • 2003 Solomon Islands, 4 out of 200 dolphins died
      Anti-captivity lobby
    • 17. What can be done?
      • PROTEST!!!
        • NAH…
      • Medium for youth social movement: Join FACEBOOK CAUSE!
      • Increase public awareness, talk to your friends!
    • 18.
      • Connor, R.C. Wells, R.S., Mann, J. & Read, A.J. (2000) The Bottlenose Dolphin: Social Relationships in a Fission-Fusion Society. In Mann, J. Connor, R.C., Tyack, P.L. & Whitehead, H. (Eds.) Cetacean Societies: Field Studies of Dolphins and Whales (pp. 91-126). University of Chicago Press, London
      • K Kannan, S Tanabe. (1997). Response to Comment on “Elevated Accumulation of Tributyltin and its Breakdown Products”. Environ. Sci. Technol
      • Leszek Karczmarski (1999). Group dynamics of humpback dolphins ( Sousa chinensis ) in the Algoa Bay region, South Africa. Journal of Zoology, 249 , pp 283-293
      • Wells, R. and Scott, M. (2002). &quot;Bottlenose Dolphins&quot;. in Perrin, W.; Wursig, B. and Thewissen, J.. Encyclopedia of Marine Mammals . Academic Press. p. 122–127. ISBN 0-12-551340-2 .
      • Rose, N.A. (2004) Captive Cetaceans: The Science behind the Ethics. European Cetacean Society 18 th Annual Conference .