We are shocked and disgusted at the idea of our government here in Turks and Caicos allowing a dolphinarium, much like Dolphin Cove Jamaica. Turks and Caicos has a very special opportunity as a relatively untouched gem in the Atlantic to become a haven for our marine environment. We are already famous for our local friendly dolphin JoJo, who often graces tourists and residents alike with his presence in the wild. The Turks and Caicos also participated in the ‘Into the Blue’ release back in the early 90’s where Rocky, Missie and Silver were released here in TCI waters after as much as 22 years in captivity. Here’s the story for those of you who aren’t familiar:
“Rocky was collected in the Florida panhandle in 1971 and maintained at Marineland in Morecambe (UK). Missie was collected off Biloxi, Texas in 1969 and maintained at Brighton Aquarium (UK). Silver was collected in waters off Taiwan in 1978 and also housed at Brighton Aquarium. These animals had been in captivity for 20, 22 and 13 years respectively. A project group called “Into the Blue” took these animals to the Turks and Caicos Islands and released them there. It has been reported that Silver had a Candida infection when he was released. They were released on September 10, 1991. Silver has reportedly been spotted by the project team one to two weeks after his release. He had lost weight. He received food and medication. (There is a photograph of Silver, taken 1-2 weeks after his release. This picture shows a very emaciated dolphin. (Peter Bloom, pers. comm.)) There are no confirmed sightings of any of the three dolphins after September 29, 1991. A $100 reward for pictures of the released dolphins remains unclaimed. Ken Balcomb reported that undisclosed sources have seen Silver in the company of Jojo, a local friendly dolphin, in the Turks and Caicos in 1994.” Read More
Here are some of the many reasons why we are strongly against this project moving forward:
- Dolphins are very social and wide-ranging animals so no holding pool could be adequately large enough.
- They have been proven to show signs of depression, stress and frustration in captivity.
- They often display aggression in captivity as a result of stress and with nowhere to go struggles often end with injuries to other dolphins in the same enclosure.
- Survival rate is much lower in captivity than in the wild.
- Humans can transfer disease to dolphins and vice versa.
- Many of these facilities claim they are important in mammal research. This is not true! Dolphins are proven to behave differently in captivity often with aggression, boredom, stress and frustration so findings would be inaccurate. Furthermore, captive dolphins are in an artificial environment where they are fed different drugs altering their natural chemistry.
- These facilities also claim educational value. Educating the public is second to the animals’ performances which are the main show. Semantics are also used to veil the public’s view of these places as the Whale and Dolphin Conservation Society stated “whales and dolphins are ‘acquired’ rather than ‘captured’; captives do not live in tanks, they live in ‘controlled environments’. Such terminology only serves to distract the visitor’s eye from the reality of tanks and repetitive daily routines.” Read More
- It’s immoral – animals are held and exploited for the sake of profit.
- Dolphins can live up to 50 years in the wild. In captivity more than half die within their first two years as captives and those that do survive only make it an average of 5 years.
- Wild dolphins can swim up to 100 miles a day. In captive tanks they are forced to swim in circles.
- Captive dolphins are forced to perform by trainers withholding food to train them to jump through hoops, wave, tail walk and play with objects. This is not their natural behaviour.
As a sport fishing vessel that spends a lot of time trolling the Turks and Caicos waters, our guests have been lucky enough to experience large pods of spotted and bottlenose dolphins playing in the wake, jumping and following along with us. We’ve also seen killer whales, pilot whales and humpback whales while out on charters or while fishing tournaments. These creatures are far more spectacular in the wild and we know our guests will agree it is much more special to see them interacting in their natural habitat rather than in a tank performing tricks.
There are countless reasons why this is the wrong direction for Turks and Caicos and we’ve listed just a few here. No publicized research or poll of public opinion has been conducted. Please sign the petition below and help us show the government that the public they serve and those who visit our islands stand together AGAINST this ridiculous project.