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Old 02-10-2013, 12:33 AM
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Default Opinions on marine mammals in captivity.

So...

What's your stance on animals like dolphins, killer whales, beluga whales, any kind of whale, being kept in captivity? Specifically parks, zoos, aquariums... That sort of thing. Feel free to be more broad in your answer, doesn't matter to me. Would just like to get a scope of the feelings towards that around here.

Of course I personally don't agree with the whole PETA stance on it that they are "enslaving" these animals, however I do think keeping a 20 foot animal in a 100 foot tank is wrong, no matter how you turn it. I think I would feel better about it if they had better living accommodations for these animals.. Like roped off or gated off bays or just something much bigger than what they are provided with. And I do believe that in situations where the animal becomes too old or too violent to be properly worked with (Like in the case of Tilikum the killer whale, possibly) they should be "retired" to a bigger, final retirement home. Or even considered for release, like they did with Keiko.

What do you guys think?
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Old 02-10-2013, 12:39 AM
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I'm fine with it as long as they are given the best care and facilities humanly possible and lots of mental and social stimulation. I think that it is good for the conservation of these animals for people to see them up close. Human nature being what it is, it's much easier to care for and be concerned about the fate of a species that is right there in front of you in real life than one that you read about or seen on TV.
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Old 02-10-2013, 08:28 AM
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Originally Posted by sillysally View Post
I think that it is good for the conservation of these animals for people to see them up close.
Yes. In theory I don't object to it, but even as things stand now where facilities are inadequate I think it's a necessary "evil" that makes people care about what happens to these animals in the wild.

I was watching a documentary on Denali National Park last night, and supposedly the guy who campaigned heavily for it to become a national park did so largely because he was SO enamored of one particular animal that lives there (Dall's Sheep). So stuff like that, while it might seem petty, matters a lot in the larger conservation picture IMO.
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Old 02-10-2013, 08:44 AM
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After watching The Cove, no, I'm not really cool with marine parks.

But like everyone else said, it's nice to see them so close and it's not the worst thing that happens.
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Old 02-10-2013, 10:03 AM
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It depends. With animals like dolphins, belugas, sea lions...I don't think it's impossible for them to be kept properly in captivity. In fact, I think it's probably done with some frequency, around the world. Just like a large, high energy dog breed can be properly kept in an apartment or house with a small yard, if they have the proper stimulation.

I certainly don't think every marine park does this. For example, Seaworld Orlando...I actually went to camp there as a teenager, and worked, and got to see some of things done to stimulate and exercise them that the public might not see. I think they do a pretty good job, but I sort of think they have too many dolphins for the exhibit and the amount of trainers and caretakers they have.

The orcas are a whole different story. No matter how much time they devote to training....the enclosure isn't big enough. You can't "walk" an orca. They don't seem happy to me. I've never seen a wild orca, but in the videos I've seen, they are way more active and playful and frolicky than the orcas at seaworld, who reminds me of caged zoo animals pacing (or swimming) back and forth.

It doesn't bother me enough to boycott the park, because I do think they do a lot of good conservation work, educating the public, and bringing awareness to issues marine animals face.

Basically, I think it's completely situational. I don't believe marine animals can't be kept properly in captivity, but like with any animals, they ARE kept improperly, and I don't think it's particularly easy to build a habitat or maintain the level of care they need.
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Old 02-18-2013, 08:50 PM
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I am against cetaceans and elephants in captivity.

Regarding cetaceans, what opened my eyes was hearing (and reading) an interview with the trainer from the Flipper series. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ric_O'Barry
http://dolphinproject.org/
The animals are not treated well, most are young females captured in the wild, and many suffer from "dolphin depression syndrome". He became an activist when one of this Flipper dolphins died in his arms, suicide. Dolphins can hold their breath until they die, unlike humans.

http://animal.discovery.com/tv/blood...erview-02.html
Marine mammal specialist and Earth Island Institute member Richard (Ric) O'Barry has worked with dolphins for the vast majority of his life. He spent the first 10 years of his career in the dolphin captivity industry and the past 38 years fighting against it. Most recently, Ric's biopic, The Cove, won an Academy Award for Best Feature Documentary in 2010.
Working for Miami Seaquarium in the 1960s, Ric was responsible for capturing and training dolphins, including five dolphins who played the role of Flipper in the popular American television series of the same name. When one of the famed dolphins, Cathy, died suddenly in his arms, Ric decided that taking dolphins out of their natural habitat and training them to perform tricks is wrong.
From that moment on, Ric knew he must rededicate himself to a new cause. On the first Earth Day in1970, Ric founded the Dolphin Project, an organization that aims to free captive dolphins and to educate people throughout the world about the plight of dolphins in captivity. Ric believes that this campaign exposes the public to what really goes on at dolphin shows and urges people not to support such forms of entertainment. By stopping the flow of money, Ric hopes to put an end to the captivity industry. This created much hostility toward him by those who stood to profit from the continued exploitation of dolphins.
Ric has rescued and released more than 25 captive dolphins in Haiti, Colombia, Guatemala, Nicaragua, Brazil, the Bahamas Islands and the United States. With more than 45 years of experience, his firsthand knowledge about the methods used to capture and train dolphins has taken him all over the world to participate in lectures and conferences about the controversial dolphin captivity issue.

With elephants, the turning point was a story on the elephant sanctuary in Tennessee. http://www.elephants.com/
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Old 02-19-2013, 07:53 AM
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Short answer: No, I don't believe in keeping marine mammals in captivity and will actively boycott any facility, or city that promotes/houses such a facility, as a tourist draw.

While some zoos can defend having animals on display as part of a conservation effort, this is not so for aquatic animals. There is no push to populate their habitat. Marine animals are not running out of ocean. As much as our population grows, the idea of an Atlantis sort of city is many, many years away. We do not need their space. If left alone they can practice their own conservation.

As far as educationally, learning about them and how they live in the wild would be SO much better than watching them perform acts that are unnatural to them in front of a cheering crowd.

Really, look it up, whales have vast ranges that are impossible to duplicate in captivity.
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Old 02-23-2013, 05:21 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MilliesMom View Post

While some zoos can defend having animals on display as part of a conservation effort, this is not so for aquatic animals. There is no push to populate their habitat. Marine animals are not running out of ocean. As much as our population grows, the idea of an Atlantis sort of city is many, many years away. We do not need their space. If left alone they can practice their own conservation.
I don't really think that it's good for whales or dolphins to be kept captive either, but running out of physical space isn't the risk; it's killing them (either directly with hunting, or indirectly through using up the resources they use to survive). Public awareness is needed to build a desire to keep them around.
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Old 02-20-2013, 10:37 AM
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My general stance on keeping any kind of wild animal in captivity: if it's a migratory animal (e.g. whales, dolphins, elephants), it should not be in captivity. It's not good for it mentally or physically.
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Old 02-23-2013, 04:48 PM
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I also don't agree with keeping large marine animals in captivity. Several years ago I went to Sea World. The seals and walruses didn't seem unhappy since they are naturally fairly lazy animals anyway, but the whales and dolphins always seemed depressed. I saw a beluga whale swimming in constant circles in his box of water, and I also saw a polar bear engaging in repetitive behaviors (jump in the water, swim in an arc, jump on the platform, jump in the water, etc.). I haven't been back since, and will not go back.

People get up in arms about dogs being "warehoused" at no-kill shelters, they talk about the kennel crazies and even how death might be preferable to the resulting mental disintegration, but it seems it is still widely socially acceptable to condemn extremely intelligent marine animals (animals proven to have much richer mental lives than dogs) to the same fate in the name of entertainment. Why?
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