The Baltimore Aquarium is searching for a place where to release the eight dolphins that until now have lived only in closed tanks. This would be the first time when an aquarium plans to release dolphins back into the ocean, and the action is scheduled to take place by 2020.
The Ethical Treatment of Animals agency received the news with great joy and considered it to be of great importance.
The aquarium officials take into consideration several options for the dolphin sanctuary location, among which the Florida Keys and the Caribbean.
The reservation will have a full-time staff, isolation pools for medical care, a temporary refuge, barriers to stop breeding, and must be placed in the clean waters of a temperate climate area. The dolphin sanctuary will have a surface of a couple of acres.
Out from the eight dolphins, only one of them swam in ocean water. The rest of seven were born at the aquarium.
Their ages are from 7 to 44 years old. The dolphins stopped to be part of shows in 2012, but they remained on the aquarium premises.
In the last years, the aquarium started to evaluate other options for its dolphins, as the public lost interest and became more critical towards live animal shows.
Another two companies that used elephants in entertainment purposes had to retire the animals because of public concerns about animal cruelty.
SeaWorld also became a negative example when they decided to phase out one of their most famous animals. The decision was followed by declining attendance, cancellations, partnership losses, and protests, all of which lasted for years.
The dolphins that will be sent to the sanctuary will remain under human supervision for the rest of their lives, as they spent too much time in closed tanks and they are not equipped to live in the wild.
The CEO of the aquarium says that they are aware the movement will be neither easy nor cheap.
The cost of the aquarium set-up may be high; however the cost of dolphin care should be lower because the animals would not need as much attention in the ocean waters as they would in tanks.
In 2011, the death of two newborn dolphins caused the aquarium a loss of $1.9 million.
Three other animal advocacy groups announced their intention to create a seaside sanctuary for belugas, dolphins, and orcas.
The Baltimore National Aquarium will work with state and federal agencies to create the sanctuary and relocate the dolphins.
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