Marine Connection has campaigned for over two decades to end the keeping of cetaceans in captivity, we therefore welcome the news that some major tour operators and airlines including Virgin and British Airways, have at long last taken a step towards a more ethical and responsible approach to their businesses by ending their support of marine parks, in particular, stopping selling tickets to/promoting SeaWorld. Pressure towards these companies is not only coming from animal welfare groups and scientists working in the area of marine mammal welfare, but also from travel industry customers’ who have concerns about wild animals being kept in captivity. Customers choosing to watch dolphins and whales perform circus tricks is on the decline and is now accepted by many as morally wrong and outdated.
No matter how large the tank, confinement in this way can never be adequate for the needs of wide-ranging cetacean species such as killer whales and dolphins. It is our hope that similar companies get behind this growing effort and cut ties with such tourism attractions and instead offer more natural, responsible wildlife encounters. A very important aspect of this change is the urgent need to establish dolphin and whale sanctuaries around the world. In the future as dolphins and/or whales become available, whether surrendered voluntarily by facilities or due to their closure, these marine mammals will need a safe place to retire to – giving them the opportunity of rehabilitation and to live a life in a more natural coastal environment, more suited to their needs , and if possible, release back into the wild.
Marine Connection of course welcomes the steps recently taken by large tour operators/airlines, however we would urge travellers to support/patronise companies like Drifter’s Guide to the Planet who have always put animal welfare before profit by adopting a moral code not to promote animals in captivity to their customers excursion/holiday options.