In the wild vs. in captivity ( information credited to – the Animal Welfare Institute http://awionline.org )
|In The Wild…||In Captivity…|
|Each day, dolphins travel up to 40 miles and orcas travel up to 100, feeding and socializing with other members of their pods. Pods can contain hundreds of individuals with complex social bonds and hierarchies.||Cetaceans are housed in small concrete or glass enclosures with no chance to swim for very long or dive deep distances.
Sometimes they are housed alone without opportunities for socialization, or they are forced to be with other animals and even species with whom they would not naturally have close contact.
|Dolphins are naturally energetic, playful and inquisitive.||When tasked with entertaining tourists all day, with nowhere to escape, dolphins often become bored, frustrated and aggressive.|
|Cetaceans spend approximately 80-90% of their time under water. They have the freedom to perform natural behaviors on their own terms.||Dolphins are forced to perform artificial activities such as “walking” on water, jumping through hoops, and nodding their heads on cue.|
|Whales and dolphins eat a variety of fish, squid and octopi species, as well as smaller mammals.
Orcas and others work in groups, utilizing complex strategies to locate their prey. Some dive thousands of feet in search of food sources.
|The animals are given a staple diet of dead fish, often as positive reinforcement during training, with no opportunities to utilize their sophisticated hunting techniques.|
|Cetaceans live in complex societies with their own cultures and dialects, maintaining close family ties with grandparents, aunts and uncles. Some remain in the same pods for life.||Individuals are violently removed from the wild, with no hope of ever being reunited with their families. Captive animals are withheld forever from the wild gene pool.|
|Whales and dolphins live in a world of sound.
They rely on echolocation as their main form of communication and use sound to find mates, migrate, communicate, stay at or return to a favored feeding area, nurse, care for young, and catch and escape prey.
|Animals are forced to listen to filtration systems, pumps, music and people clapping and yelling on a regular basis.
Their concrete and/or glass enclosures also manipulate sounds, so even if two individuals are housed together, their communication is warped.
|Cetaceans are surrounded by other sea life and are an integral part of the marine food web.
Whales and dolphins have evolved for millions of years in the oceans, and in most cases, they are the top predators.
|Artificial captive environments are sterile and lack stimulation. The animals’ water is chemically treated with chlorine – though they still suffer from bacterial infections that can be deadly.
The highly chlorinated water can also cause irritation and even blindness.
- Activities like beaching themselves in aquatic shows contrast with dolphins in the wild that never would beach themselves. Scientists believe that this is extremely harmful because dolphins resting on their bellies over a hard surface, will eventually damage their internal organs.
- By withholding food, some trainers coerce dolphins into repetitive and unnatural behaviours, performing ‘tricks’ for the public. Hunger forces the dolphins to ignore their most basic natural instincts. They are even trained to beach themselves, despite the danger of doing so.
- The mortality rates and abnormal behaviours of captive dolphins prove that a lack of stimulation causes them terrible stress. Swimming listlessly in circles is just one common indictor of boredom and psychological distress.
- Space is also an issue – pools are miserably small for large, far ranging animals that would swim up to 50 miles a day in the wild. The shallow waters expose dolphins’ delicate skin to painful sunburns.
- Dolphins in the wild spend approximately 80% of their time deep below the surface exploring the depths of the ocean. The need for continuous movement of Wild dolphins is one of the reasons that critics of captivity are using as arguments to request the release of dolphins in captivity.
- Many dolphins do not survive the trauma of capture. Of those that do, 53% die within three months of confinement. Captive dolphins also suffer and die from intestinal disease, stress-related illness and chlorine poisoning.
- ‘Swim with dolphins’ programmes cannot guarantee the safety of people interacting with dolphins, even those bred in captivity. These powerful animals are often stressed from being in a confined space. Unsurprisingly, accounts of deliberate and inadvertent human injuries caused by captive dolphins include broken limbs.
- Dolphins in captivity are not trained, they are conditioned to perform “tricks” from being starved and only fed twice daily and generally only when performing “tricks”
A very informative video about Dolphin & Whale captivity.
After watching this video – Take the Pledge Not to Buy a Ticket to a Dolphin Show – click here