A recent report by the US-based Whale and Dolphin Conservation Society tracking 43 dolphins exported from Russia, Georgia and the Ukraine found that half had perished in captivity and 9 had to be returned to Russia.
Indeed, other research has shown that this 50% fatality rate of dolphins in captivity is typical. In February 2010, Ukrainian officials announced that two dolphinariums would be shut down owing to massive violations.
The marine mammals were being kept in 16-meter pools where they became highly susceptible to bacterial pneumonia and septicemia, the most frequent cause of death for confined dolphins.
In Turkey, four dolphinarium deaths within just one week of in the Mediterranean resort town of Alanya caused an international tour operator to cancel visits to the site.
While there is no exact count of total dolphins in captivity, they number in the thousands, with return to the wild rarely possible. Supreme Master Television spoke with Dr. Naomi Rose, marine mammal scientist for The Humane Society of the United States, who explained the horrendous methods used to capture dolphins and other cetaceans.
Dr. Rose (f): There is another method of collecting dolphins from the wild, it is to hunt, and the dolphins that are not selected to be sold alive are killed.
VOICE: Moreover, being held in captivity inflicts many psychological harms upon the marine animals.
Dr. Rose (f): It’s the same four walls, and there is nothing new in, inside them, day after day after day so it must be terribly, terribly boring for them, and boredom is stressful; it can in fact kill you, it’s so stressful. It can lead to depression, it can lead to high blood pressure, it can lead to all sorts of physiological changes.
Dr. Rose (f): Proponents of captivity try to portray that they feed their whales, you know, great food 3 times a day, whatever it is, as a benefit of captivity.
But they become unhealthy, they become lethargic, some of them become depressed. They have their groceries delivered at the door, and they get ill, and they die young.
Yes, all of these things are provided for them, but it takes away their reason for living. It takes away their purpose.
VOICE: Dr. Rose, we thank you for your valuable insights and send our gratitude to the Humane Society of the United States as well as all organizations, individuals and governments working to safeguard the dolphins and other marine mammals. Let us cherish these divine creations in their natural state of freedom so that we can continue to receive their gifts of love, grace and beauty.
As part of her frequent efforts to safeguard the welfare of all beings, Supreme Master Ching Hai spoke of the need to respect our animal co-inhabitants during an October 2008 videoconference in Thailand.