Two captive dolphins living at Conny Land fun park in Switzerland died within about ten days of one another. Initially just one dolphin died, and it was speculated a two-day rave party with loud music near its aquarium caused a fatal degree of stress. However, when the second one died too, a new potential cause was posed: poisoning. At the moment the cause is unknown, but it was reported eight dolphins at the same facility have passed away just in the last three years.
Adding to the mysterious tragedy is the fact the case’s prosecutor had to be removed because his handball club has been given sponsorship money by Conny Land fun park.
Wild dolphins don’t belong in captivity. Because they can swim 40 miles a day or more in the open ocean, putting them in small concrete pools is something like a form of torture. Not only do they swim long distances in ocean habitats, they are intelligent, curious, playful creatures that constantly explore their surroundings. Human-made pools–homogenous, tiny containers–lack the normal biodiversity wild dolphins interact with in the ocean.
As the WSPCA says, “In contrast, captive dolphins are forced to swim in endless circles in artificial habitats, interact with unfamiliar dolphins and other species, eat dead fish, and perform behaviors that are unnatural and in some cases painful. Captive dolphins also face exposure to human infection and bacteria, chemicals such as chlorine, and suffer from stress-related illnesses.”
The main reason dolphins are captured from the wild and relocated to recreational parks is to make money for the park owners. Some say it is to educate the public, but making dolphins do learned tricks for paying customers is not likely to educate anyone about true dolphin behavior in natural settings. Packaged dolphin swimming experiences are also offered under the guise of education, but their high cost for consumers and forced unnatural conditions for the dolphins strongly suggest profit-making is the actual reason.
Image Credit: pelican/WikiCommons
Note: the dolphin image does not depict the actual dolphins mentioned above. It is simply a generic dolphin captivity photo.