Breaking: National Aquarium to Retire Dolphins to Seaside Sanctuary

June 14, 2016: The Baltimore National Aquarium has announced plans to build a natural seawater sanctuary for the eight Atlantic bottlenose dolphins currently in their care.

We’re announcing today that we are moving our dolphins to a sanctuary, a natural, seaside sanctuary by the end of the year 2020.” ~ John Racanelli, CEO of the National Aquarium.

According to a report by Miles O’Brien, PBS NewsHour, this decision is in response to a rising tide of opposition to dolphinariums all over the world. The plan is for the aquarium to purchase and build a protected sanctuary off the coast of either Florida or the Caribbean. A team of professionals will evaluate potential locations where a lifetime of customized care for each dolphin will be provided.

It will be a first for an industry clearly resistant to change. Unlike the National Aquarium, Joel Manby, CEO of SeaWorld has refused to enter discussions about moving their orcas to seaside pens, choosing instead to leave the mammals in concrete pens for the duration of their lives.

Ric O'Barry, PBS NewsHour

Ric O’Barry, PBS NewsHour
Credit: PBS NewsHour / YouTube

Dolphin Project Founder/Director Ric O’Barry has always advocated for seaside retirement facilities in cases where dolphins can’t be released.

Attitudes are changing – and here’s proof. The National Aquarium is on the right side of history. It’s time the rest of the industry caught up with them.” ~ Ric O’Barry

Read the report by Miles O’Brien/PBS NewsHour.

Read the full statement by the National Aquarium.

Watch PBS Newshour below:

Featured image: Baltimore National Aquarium, Miles O’Brien/PBS NewsHour / YouTube

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About Cara Sands

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It might be true that we don't recall many moments from our early years. However, Cara's first memory of a dolphin had her begging her parents to ask the trainer to let the dolphin go! The problem with captivity was evident to her, even as a 4 year-old child.

A writer by trade, Cara has researched, investigated and documented dolphins suffering in captivity. From documenting dolphins incarcerated in buildings, cut-off from fresh air, sunlight and normal socialization to researching cases of animals imprisoned in solitary confinement, Cara is a dedicated dolphin welfare advocate.

It is her belief that education equals empowerment. The more information shared, the better our choices and knowledge of how to act as a positive and respectful voice for dolphins across the world.

Cara is based out of Canada and makes time whenever possible to observe dolphins in their natural environments. She is writing her first fiction novel but knowing her, the marine world will play a prominent role in her book!

"The use of animals for entertainment is nothing more than an abuse of dominance. Some of the most sentient species on the planet have been exploited to incomprehensible levels, all due to their inherent benevolence. Ironic, considering that we turn to the abused themselves for displays of humanity."
~ Cara Sands

Author: Cara Sands


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