The Moscow-Taiji Dolphin Connection
Dolphins are one of the most amazing creatures on the planet. They impress with their intelligence, social bonds and culture. Almost everyone wants to see dolphins, and it’s this desire that often brings tremendous suffering to the animals.
For many people, a “convenient” opportunity to see these incredible mammals is a trip to a dolphin show. At first glance, dolphinariums look like paradise, complete with cheerful music and happy, smiling dolphins. But it is all a terrible illusion.
This one question explains the problem of captive dolphin displays: “How do dolphins get from sea to stage?”
As reported on the official website of the Office of the Federal service for Veterinary and Phytosanitary Surveillance of the City of Moscow, the Moscow and Tula region, on January 27, 2016, cargo aircraft IL-76 arrived to Moscow airport ‘Vnukovo’ from Japan, carrying 14 dolphins and two pilot whales for placement in the Center for Oceanography and Marine Biology “Moskvarium,” located on the territory of the VDNKh Exhibition Center.
About 10 hours before this information became public, SaveDolphins.net received a message containing a post on Instagram by one of the employees of Moskvarium.
Translated, it read: “It’s 2 am and right now somewhere in Vnukovo 15 dolphins that flew from Japan gets unloaded. These dolphins will entertain visitors of the swimming center and very soon people will be able to swim with them. I really hope they will arrive in a couple of hours and by the morning we will unload them, lift up to the center that is located on the upper floor in Moskvarium. And when you will go to work I will go home to take some sleep, and will return to work in the afternoon.”
The post raises a disturbing question: “What happened to the 15th dolphin?” According to officials, only 14 dolphins arrived to the aquarium, thus, either the employee misquoted the official number, or one dolphin died during transport. The Instagram post was taken down shortly thereafter.
Apparently, this is not the first transfer of dolphins from Taiji to Moscow. In 2013, one of Moskvarium’s owners, God Nisanov, mentioned in an interview “they have an agreement with the experts from Japan who already train 17 dolphins for them.”*
* Source: Forbes Magazine, 2-27-13
On August 5, 2015, the grand opening of the Moskvarium boasted eight bottlenose dolphins, all from Taiji.*
* Source: http://official.vdnh.ru/press/media/v-stolitse-otkrylsya-moskvarium-no-ochered-nado-zanimat-zaranee/
As Russian law prohibits the capture of bottlenose dolphins, due to their endangered status in the country, the only legal way to obtain them is to purchase the mammals from Japan. Not many people in Russia are aware of the captivity-Taiji connection, and most wouldn’t believe the dolphins they see performing are from the same pods which are captured in the brutal dolphin drives, many of which end up slaughtered. In fact, several dolphinariums and oceanariums in Russia use this lack of knowledge and awareness to gain public support, claiming the animals are “rescued dolphins from Japanese fishermen.”
Moskvarium is just one of the facilities in Russia that buys dolphins from Taiji. Another is Sochi dolphinarium Riviera, as well as Primary Oceanarium. In addition, there are four Ukrainian-based chain Nemo dolphinariums in Russia.
The solution? Do NOT Buy a Ticket to a Dolphin Show. Demand feeds supply. If there is no demand for captive, performing dolphins, there will be no need for a supply. With proper education and awareness, dolphinariums can become a failed experiment in history.
Just say NO to the DOLPHIN SHOW.
Thank you to SaveDolphins.net for providing the source material for this blog.
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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