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Captive Cetaceans: A Handbook for Campaigners

A Whale and Dolphin Conservation Society (WDCS) document.

Written by Jerye Mooney

Edited by: Chris Stroud Vanessa Williams Frances Clarke

Distributed: March 1998

Whale & Dolphin Conservation Society Alexander House, James Street West, BATH, BA1 2BT, UK Tel: 01225 334511 Fax: 01225 480097 Web-site:

Registered Charity No. 1014705

Introduction: Why Cetaceans?..................................................................................... xx


INTRODUCING VARIOUS CETACEANS.........................................1

SECTION 2 CAPTIVITY........................................................................................... 6 Capture methods/Effect on wild populations/ Acclimatisation and transport. SECTION 3 CONFINEMENT...................................................................................13 Social structure and compatibility/Causes of mortality/Drooping dorsal fins. SECTION 4 RESPONSES TO PRO-CAPTIVITY ARGUMENTS.......................22 Marine parks are not zoos/Public opinion/ Inflated attendance figures/Ducking the issue/Longevity and intelligence. SECTION 5 REFUTING THE MYTHS.................................................................. 38 The appreciation myth/The deception of education/The hypocrisy of conservation/ The delusion of research/The sham of captive breeding. SECTION 6 REHABILITATION: HUMANITARIAN OR OPPORTUNISTIC?..60 Stranded cetaceans:release factors/ Questionable rehabilitations. SECTION 7 INFLUENCING POLICY AND POLITICS.......................................65 Reforming regulations/non-partisan and non-political?/Public relations and deflecting public scrutiny/Discrediting critics/The future. SECTION 8 ALTERNATIVES TO CETACEAN CAPTIVITY........................... 74 Changing attitudes/Video and virtual reality/ Thanks but no tanks!/The good news. SECTION 9 REINTRODUCTIONS......................................................................... 79 The release debate/Notable releases/Disease transmission/Orca release projects/Getting back on the right track. SECTION 10 OPPOSING NEW FACILITIES.........................................................91

APPENDICES A: Cetacean-Free Facilities in North America.................................................. 94 B: 1994 U.S Amusement Industry Consumer Survey ..................................... 101 C: Profiles of N.American Display Facilities Maintaining Cetaceans ............ 103 D: Memorable quotes ....................................................................................... 149 BIBLOGRAPHY.......................................................................................................153


Why Cetaceans? What is it about whales and dolphins - collectively known as cetaceans - that so fascinates and inspires humans and how much has controversy replaced curiosity in recent years? Whilst there are undoubtedly many reasons for their appeal, one answer may lie in the very essence of their wild nature and freedom, inherently contrary to their confinement. This report has been written to familiarise readers with captive cetacean issues. It seeks to provide general information on species likely to be seen at marine parks, offer responses to typical pro-captivity arguments, and provide thought-provoking insight into the exploitation of cetaceans by the multi-billion-dollar captivity business. A great deal of the information compiled originated from industry sources - considered among our best supporting arguments! Caution is urged when referring to statistical data which may be accurate only up to the date noted. The controversy over maintaining cetaceans in captivity increases as we learn about the true nature of the various species confined. Advocates of cetacean freedom must become more proactive in their attempts to educate the public on this sometimes volatile, often emotional issue. Quite simply, the solution to gaining cetacean freedom lies in addressing supply and demand. An educated public will not tolerate continued captures and confinement if given an informed choice. It is the goal of this report to assist advocates of cetacean freedom in their endeavours to advance the public's understanding that cetaceans are not suited for confinement. The difference between confining cetaceans and terrestrial species lies in our inability to provide appropriate conditions to accommodate the physiological, social and environmental needs of a wholly aquatic species. Cetaceans are large, complex mammals which maintain close family bonds, travel long distances together, and feed and communicate as a cohesive group. Captivity severely compromises their quality of life to an unacceptable degree, through confinement in minuscule tanks. Such confinement is often characterised by forced associations, sensory deprivation and adverse intrusion by visitors. Marine parks can no longer justify their captivity under the false premise of education, conservation and research. Today's society is sophisticated enough to recognise these facilities as aquatic circuses, but the public must be encouraged to openly express its growing unease. It will not be an easy task. At times, we will feel hopelessly overpowered by the captivity industry with its virtually unlimited resources, deceptive public relations tactics, high profile attorneys, slick lobbyists, and even "industry friendly" media. Where we have failed in changing laws, we can succeed in changing minds. To accomplish this, we must act responsibly and establish credibility by distributing only factual, consistent information. Finally, the issue must be aired in the public arena. Facts presented with conviction will create awareness, awareness leads to informed questioning, and questioning leads to commitment to act.


Introducing cetaceans... The cetaceans most likely to be seen at marine parks are various species of whales and dolphins of the suborder odontocetes (toothed whales). The first cetaceans captured for exhibition in North America appear to have been six white whales (belugas) captured from the St. Lawrence River and transported to P.T. Barnum's Museum in New York in 1861 and 1862, of which only one survived transport (Joseph et al, 1990). The species most commonly held in marine parks today is the Atlantic bottlenose dolphin, although the Pacific bottlenose dolphin is also represented in small numbers. Because of unregulated captures before the passage of the U.S. Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA) in 1972, the number of bottlenose dolphins captured in U.S. waters for the world's marine parks is uncertain. According to the U.S. Marine Mammal Commission, "capture of bottlenose dolphins for purposes of public display and scientific research began early in the 1900s and as many as 1,800 animals appear to have been taken from coastal U.S. waters prior to 1972. Since that time, another 573 animals have been collected from waters off the southeastern United States under permits issued by the National Marine Fisheries Service" (MMC, 1990), totalling some 2,373 Atlantic bottlenose dolphins. No accountability exists for the unknown numbers exported abroad. Additionally, at least 825 individuals of 25 cetacean species are known to have been captured in, or imported into, the United States up to 1994. Stranding networks provided more than 30 known individuals of 10 species, although very few achieved long-term survival. Altogether, in the period up to 1994, more than 3,000 cetaceans, at a conservative estimate, were permanently removed from the wild.

Bottlenose dolphins... Bottlenose dolphins are found worldwide, in temperate and tropical waters. More than any other dolphin, the bottlenose forms long-term associations with such widely-differing species as sea turtles, humpback whales, and humans. Most of what we know about the social life of all dolphins is the result of studies of wild bottlenose populations. The Atlantic bottlenose dolphin (Tursiops truncatus) is the most studied of all dolphins commonly seen at marine parks. They are capable of reaching speeds of 18-22 mph, typically cruising in their natural habitat at 5-7 mph, and regularly dive to depths of 650 feet (198m). Field studies indicate that travelling occupies a significantly greater proportion of time than other activities observed (Shane et al, 1986). Resident coastal bottlenose dolphins appear to maintain a home range which varies in different locales. The bottlenose dolphin has a distinctive "signature whistle" which allows members of a group to identify other individuals. This characteristic call helps a mother to stay in contact with her calf. Dolphin societies are matrilineal, based on kinship from the female line. They appear to form relatively permanent social groups based on sex and age. Typically, calves remain

with their mothers for 3 to 6 years (Wells, 1991); female calves are believed to remain close to their mothers for at least part of their lives. Sub-adult females are frequently observed with adult females but may swim with young males. Adult males tend to form strong bonds with one or two other males, which may last up to ten years (Wells, 1991). Maximum life expectancy is believed to be about 40 years, gestation 12 months. Industry sources indicate lifespan at 25-30 years (Sea World, 1989).

Pacific white-sided dolphins... Pacific white-sided dolphins (Lagenorhynchus obliquidens ) are pelagic or offshore species, normally found in deep waters in groups of 40 to 1,000 or more in the temperate North Pacific. They travel in congregations that are among the largest of any dolphin species. Sightings have been observed at depths ranging from 328 ft.(100 m) to nearly 1,000 ft.(3000 m) (Stacy & Baird, 1991). Half of the sightings reported in Monterey, California involved associations with other cetacean species, pinnipeds and sea birds. Often called "lags, they are active animals, which commonly breach, spin and somersault. Offshore, they are avid bow-riders, and inshore, they have been observed surfing in waves. Lags are fast and powerful swimmers that may naturally "porpoise" in unison. During fast swimming, Pacific white-sided dolphins may produce a visible spray of water known as a "roostertail". Little is known of their social dynamics. Adults may reach 7 to 8 ft. (2.1 to 2.4 m) in length, and weigh up to 330 lbs. (150 kg). They attain sexual maturity between six and ten years (Stacey & Baird, 1991). Life expectancy is believed to be about 30 years. Industry sources indicate average longevity at 25 years (Sea World, 1989).

Belugas... Belugas, or white whales (Delphinapterus leucas), are found in the Arctic waters of Scandinavia, Greenland, Svalbard, the former Soviet Union, and North America. Those of the western Hudson Bay and Gulf of St. Lawrence have been studied extensively. The St. Lawrence River beluga were designated as endangered in 1983, largely attributable to industrial pollution. Populations in Baffin Island and Ungava Bay are also endangered because of over hunting. Belugas range in size from 6.5 to 16 ft. (2 to 5 m) in length, and can weigh 2,400 lbs. (1,100 kg); males are slightly larger than females. Normally, belugas spend much of there time in or at the waters surface, seldom diving deep. However research with trained belugas has demonstrated their ability to dive up to deaths exceeding 1640 ft. (800m) (Dye & Davey, 1993). This social animal is rarely found alone, congregating in groups of 5-20, or up to several thousands during summer. Summers are spent in shallow bays and estuaries, and winters in areas of loose pack-ice. Newborn belugas are slate grey in colour and turn a brownish-grey as they get older, finally fading to a pure white at maturity. Their colour isn't consistent, due to the sloughing-off of their skin each year, which often appears yellowish before they moult. Belugas have been nicknamed "sea canaries" for their high-pitched vocalisations. They possess sophisticated echolocation abilities. Belugas lack dorsal fins and, since the neck vertebrae are not fused, they can move their heads with tremendous flexibility. They are

graceful, but not particularly fast swimmers, capable of sculling with their tail to swim backwards. They may spyhop and lobtail, but rarely breach, and are not known especially for "performing. Life expectancy is believed to be about 35-50 years, gestation is about 14 months. Industry sources indicate 30-50 years as maximum captive lifespan (Geraci, 1986)

Orcas... Orcas, or killer whales (Orcinus orca) are found worldwide, but most often congregate in the colder waters of the North Pacific, North Atlantic and Antarctia. They are the largest members of the dolphin family, and the top predator in the sea. Although not endangered, they are the most studied of all marine mammals. Resident orcas off Vancouver Island may venture 75-100 miles (120-160 km) per day in summer following salmon and still further during winter (Hoyt, 1992). Without question, the orca is the most controversial of all cetacean species maintained in captivity today, and the largest cetacean ever brought into captivity for extended periods. Adults attain large sizes, males average 22 to 27 feet (6.7-8.2 m), and may weigh 8,000 to 12,000 pounds (3,628-5,442 kg); females average 17 to 24 feet (5.2-7.3 m), and may weigh 3,000 to 8,000 pounds (1,361-3,628 kg). Studies in the Pacific Northwest suggest that there are two socially and genetically isolated forms, known as "residents" and "transients distinguished by differences in appearance, behaviour and diet. In recent years, a third form, dubbed "offshores, has been recognised Resident orca communities appear unique among mammalian social systems, consisting of pods which travel together, and matrilineal family groups where individuals never permanently leave the group into which they are born whilst their mother is alive (Olesiuk et al, 1990; Ford et al, 1994). Residents possess pod-specific dialects. Transients have demonstrated spatial separation, at least for long periods, but common dialects and occasional gatherings suggest that social bonds endure. Female orcas have a mean life expectancy of 50.2 years, maximum 80-90 years; males have a mean life expectancy of 29.2 years, maximum 50-60 years (Olesiuk et al, 1990). Gestation is about 17 months. Most industry sources insist around 35 years as the maximum captive lifespan.

Pilot whales.. Pilot whales consist of two species: the long-finned (Globicephala melaena), found in temperate and subpolar regions of the Atlantic, Indian, and South Pacific seas; and the short-finned (Globicephala macrohynchus), found in tropical and warm temperate oceans. The subtle differences between the two species consist mainly of the length of the pectoral fins, number of teeth, and shape of the skull. Pilot whales are gregarious animals, herding in numbers up to several hundred individuals, and are often observed with other small cetacean species. Frequently seen resting at the surface, they will occasionally lobtail and spyhop, but rarely breach. Pilot whales are social animals, which apparently live in family clusters without permanent adult males. They have often been observed socializing by touching each other, predominantly with their pectoral fins.

Norris and Pryor (1991) noted that pods contained older, post-reproductive females, suggesting the possibility that their function may be that of "long-term memory", communicating to other pod members information on locating food, and migration routes. Some 445 have been photo-identified in the Canary Islands since 1989 (Heimlich-Boran, 1992). They may randomly dive as deep as 2,000 ft. (600 m), primarily feeding on squid. Pilot whales are known to strand in great numbers on beaches. Males average about 20 feet (6 m) and 7,000 pounds (3,200 kg), females are slightly smaller. Life expectancy for females is believed about 65 years, and about 45 to 50 years for males. Industry sources suggest 40-50 years as maximum captive lifespan (Geraci, 1986).

Pseudorcas.. False killer whales (Pseudorca crassidens), sometimes called Pacific black whales, are found in all temperate and tropical seas. They are one of several species known to beach or strand in large numbers. Little is known about their life in the wild; however, it appears that males and females of all ages travel together. They live in tight pods that vary in size from fewer than 10 to more than 100 individuals. False killer whales are exceptionally active for their size, and can execute high leaps and make rapid turns and sudden stops. They are known to be opportunistic feeders, consuming largely squid and fish. Aggressive behaviour towards other cetacean species has been observed both in wild and captive populations. Males may exceed 20 feet (6 m) and weigh about 2,600 pounds (1,200 kg); females are slightly smaller. Life expectancy is believed to be about 35 years. Industry sources suggest average longevity at 20-25 years (Sea World, 1989).

SECTION 2 Captivity

Capture methods... Resident Atlantic bottlenose dolphins have been captured with relative ease in the shallow waters of Florida and the Gulf of Mexico. Methods of capture in shallow waters utilise two high-speed boats - one for encircling the animals with a seine net, and another for transport equipment. A spotter plane is occasionally used to locate the animals. Once the "set" is complete, a smaller net is positioned inside the circle, further restricting animal movement, and drawn within 33 to 39 feet (10-12 m) in diameter. As the net closes, dolphins usually begin to strike the net, increasing the likelihood of entanglement and drowning. Entangled animals are recovered first, pulled aboard, measured, sexed, and physically examined (Cornell, 1986). Asper (1975) claimed that animals are selected according to needs; larger animals for breeding purposes, younger animals of three to five years of age, for training. National Marine Fisheries Service did not require that captures be monitored, or that observers accompany captures until 1990. However, this requirement is inconsistently enforced, and is based on the availability and convenience of observers. The number of animals accidentally killed during capture operations remains unknown; reporting requirements based on the "honour system" remain questionable. The breakaway-hoopnet technique is used mainly in deeper water to capture bow-riding animals. This technique has been employed in captures of grey whales, false killer whales and beluga whales, but is most often used to capture Pacific white-sided dolphins and pilot whales. The captor stands on an extending pulpit, positioning the net as animals surface to breathe. A successful set will break the net attachment, entangling the animal, which is secured to a rope and large float for recovery. When the animal is alongside the vessel, a sling or stretcher is lowered into the water beneath the animal and it is lifted aboard (Cornell, 1986). Earlier captures of these species used a primitive, mechanical "tail-grabber" device to pluck bow-riding cetaceans from the sea; this method is occasionally still used today. On the capture and transport of Pacific white-sided dolphins, Ken Ramirez (1991) of the Shedd Aquarium has said: "Pacific white-sided dolphins, or lags, have a reputation for being very hyperactive and nervous animals. We had real concerns that such active animals might not readily sit still for a long transport." Nearly all of the Pacific whitesided dolphins and pilot whales captured for North American marine parks were taken from Californian waters. Since 1967, Beluga whales have been captured exclusively by the firm Nanuk Enterprises of Hudson Bay, using a unique and questionable capture method. Participants in the round-up have been called "cold water cowboys" for chasing belugas into shallow waters with speedboats, roping them, and literally jumping upon their backs to wrestle them into submission rodeo-style. All captures have taken place in the summer months as the animals congregate in the warmer estuaries to feed. Those captured are between three and six years of age, judging by their length and colour; however, Mystic Marinelife acquired a beluga captured at less than one year old (Kelly, 1990).


Early captures of orcas had a tendency to be opportunistic, accidental and reckless. Methods included capture by harpoon, hoop nets, gill and purse seine nets. Captures in the Pacific Northwest involved ambushing whales as they swam into narrow, shallow water inlets, then stringing a net across the mouth, entrapping the entire pod (Hoyt, 1992). Explosives such as seal bombs were occasionally used to drive orcas into shallow bays. Author Erich Hoyt (1990) described the reactions of newly-captured orcas he observed within the nets: "These four captives were vocalising in sudden outbursts of urgent yet seemingly despondent tones..They were distress calls. They were loud. Underwater, they would carry about seven miles; on the surface, under ideal conditions, perhaps a few hundred yards." Deep water techniques require that one or more animals be encircled with a purse seine net. Asper (1975) suggested that sub-adults of larger species (eg belugas and orcas) are selected between one and four or five years of age. Earlier captors of orcas were inclined to release larger animals; keeping those measuring about 16 feet (4.8 m), and the calves (Waters, 1969). According to Sigurjnsson and Leatherwood (1988), Icelandic orcas are generally two years old or less at capture. Of those exported, 27% averaged less than 10 feet (3 m); the smallest measuring 8.5 feet (2.6 m). The capture of young animals clearly disputes the recommendations of experienced specialists. According to marine mammal veterinarian and captor Jay Sweeney (1990), "Attempts at removing a juvenile cetacean under two years of age from its mother frequently results in significant stress to the juvenile. When removed prior to two years, the juvenile, especially a male, has difficulty coping with alternative environments and integrating into new social groups." Since 1961, at least 134 orcas have been captured for aquariums worldwide. Virtually every false killer whale maintained in U.S. aquariums today was either acquired directly through Japanese drive hunts at Taiji and Iki Islands, or indirectly via Japanese aquariums, which had acquired the animals through drive hunts. Marine World's president Michael Demetrious (1993) confirmed that, "every animal or marine mammal that has been captured in Japanese coastal waters was initially herded toward the coast by a drive." Japan's marine mammal capture industry is comprised of local fishermen's unions. Drive hunts were initially restricted to the months between October and April under the guise of "predator control", based on the belief that various whales and dolphins competed with fishermen. However, a year-round live capture trade for dolphinariums and aquariums exists (Currey et al, 1990). Some animals are set aside and sold to aquariums for a few thousand dollars more than the fishermen would have earned had they been sold as meat (Hoyt, 1992). Aquariums defended the practice by claiming to rescue animals which would have been marketed as meat; yet in reality, and according to local people, they were encouraging and subsidising drive hunts which might not otherwise have been conducted. Animals set aside for marine parks originating from Japan have frequently died shortly after transport of hepatitis and similar disorders from their original polluted waters, compromising the health of existing captive stock as well as handlers. Sweeney (1986) noted that, "Outbreaks of infectious disease reported in dolphins include erysipelas, pasteurellosis, hepatitis, Pseudomonas pseudomallei infection, and systemic mycosis.... Acute hepatitis has occurred in several devastating outbreaks. Mortality is nearly 100 percent, with death usually resulting within 48 hours of the onset of illness. In addition to


chronic inactive hepatitis, acute hepatitis in dolphins (presumably the result of some environmental or nutritional factor) is seen." In 1986, more than 20 animal care workers were vaccinated as a precaution against hepatitis after two pseudorcas died at Sea World from hepatitis-like symptoms. Dr. Brian Joseph, then clinical veterinarian at San Diego, insisted on the treatment, despite objections from other officials. A series of three gamma gobulin injections were given over a six-month period by Dr. Nat Rose, a private physician. The costs involved were reported at more than $1500 per person (Hall, personal communication). About 33 pseudorcas have been captured for U.S. facilities since 1963. Besides the false killer whale, species such as Risso's dolphins and Pacific bottlenose dolphins, also acquired through drive hunts, have been exported to U.S. aquariums. Effect on wild populations.. The effect of capture upon wild populations, as well as upon individuals removed, is still poorly understood; however, many scientists believe that such effects may be significant. Certainly disruption and stress occur. In 1984, the Marine Mammal Commission and Committee of Scientific Advisors expressed concern about the impact that chase during capture may be having upon Tursiops populations, and "the fact that the actual impact of collection operations is more extensive than those envisioned in the permits" (Twiss, 1984). The Commission asked National Marine Fisheries Service to contact each individual designated as a "collector of record" to provide estimates of the numbers of animals that may be chased, encircled, and/or brought on board a capture vessel during authorised collections. Captors were required to provide "the numbers, and as possible, ages and sexes of animals chased, encircled, held and released as well as those removed from the wild within ten days of the collection date" (Bumsted, 1984). Dolphin captor Jay Sweeney (1984) responded that: "One-third of those chased and encircled satisfy acceptable criteria and are retained. Those considered keepable' size are two to four years of age and still associate with their mothers", thereby acknowledging that juveniles are desired. Marine Animal Productions estimated that "for every animal taken, three to four are encircled, handled, evaluated and released" (Terrell, 1991). Wells (1990) research on wild populations in Sarasota suggests that "mothers and their most recent calves typically remain in close association for an average of 5.4 years.... Separation occurs most often when the calf is four to eight years old. The mother/calf association apparently provides a protective environment for growth and socialisation." Methods used to capture beluga whales suggest the potential of great disruption to the herds, due to the proximity of newborn calves observed with their mothers as large numbers migrate into the shallow estuaries where capture operations take place. Beluga cows guard and protect their calves. The chaotic beluga round-ups increase risks of separating mother/calf pairs, spontaneous abortion of pregnant females, and beaching of individuals. Studies in Hudson Bay have shown that up to 54% of females examined were pregnant, lactating, or both. Newborn calves, with umbilical cords attached, have been found close to their mothers following forced strandings in tagging studies (Sergeant, 1973).


Permit conditions now require facilities to report estimates of the number of animals chased, encircled, temporarily retained, and released in addition to those actually authorised for capture. The 1984 joint captures by Mystic and the New York Aquarium took 14 belugas to obtain four (Spotte, 1984). Mystic captured ten in 1985 to obtain two (Overstrom, 1985). The 1987 captures by the National Aquarium in Baltimore and New York Aquarium captured ten to obtain three. Two were "chased" for more than an hour (Cook, 1987). Sea World captured, retained and released 18 in 1988 to obtain four (Asper, 1988). The Shedd Aquarium captured, retained and released 24 before selecting four in 1992 (Robinett). Two of those released were rejected "due to the possibility of a disease process" following blood analysis (Boehm, 1992). Shedd's post- collection report noted: "As the boats got closer to the whales, the animals' behaviour took on a variety of responses. It seemed that the degree of evasive tactics exhibited by each beluga may have depended on that animal's previous exposure to the live-capture efforts. Whales that may have been previously chased would exhibit quicker and tighter turns accompanied by bursts of speed." Orca scientist Peter Olesiuk (et al, 1990) described the effects of removing individuals from wild orca populations: "Analysis indicates, rather surprisingly, that the population is more sensitive to removals of juveniles than mature animals. This is due to the high reproductive value of juveniles compared to mature females. Moreover, the removal of one animal may adversely affect the survival of other animals. For example, the death of females might also increase the likelihood of the death of their dependent offspring." Researchers were surprised to learn that males in an orca pod remained close to their mother's side throughout her life. "When the mother dies, the males may continue their association, for a time, with their sisters, but they occasionally die shortly after their mother." (Balcomb, 1991). Olesiuk's conclusion could well apply to other cetacean species as well, particularly since juveniles and females of most species are taken at disproportionately higher levels than adult males. The Marine Mammal Commission (cited in Scott, 1990) recommended that, "the female take be no more than 50% of allowable quotas. This has not been the practice in the current management scheme, where 66% of all bottlenose dolphins removed from the wild have been females. Captures concentrated on the female portion of the stock significantly increases the risk of over-exploitation by lowering the potential for future recruitment." Aerial surveys, boat and land-based surveys, tag and resighting, and capture and release techniques have been used to determine allowable regional live-capture quotas. A number of individuals affiliated with marine parks have contributed to these studies, notably Ed Asper and Dan Odell of Sea World, and independent captors Jay Sweeney and Moby Solangi (Scott, 1990). Their contributions to managementoriented research, to determine allowable quotas, appear to be yet another conflict of interest. The Marine Mammal Commission (1990) noted that, "It is unlikely that live captures and removals [of Atlantic bottlenose dolphins] have caused significant declines in the affected populations. However, a profoundly more disturbing threat emerged in mid-1987 when large numbers of bottlenose dolphins began washing up on the beaches from New Jersey to Florida." Between June 1987 and March 1988 more than 740 bottlenose dolphins were found washed up dead along the Atlantic coast. NMFS estimated the 1987-88 mass mortality may have reduced the mid-Atlantic coastal migratory population of bottlenose dolphins by as much as 60%. In 1990, 297 bottlenose dolphins had stranded in the Gulf of


Mexico from Texas to northwest Florida, prompting the recommendation that all taking of bottlenose dolphins from the Gulf waters for purposes of public display and scientific research be suspended until the causes of mortality could be determined. On March 14, 1990 the federal government banned the capture of bottlenose dolphins in the Gulf of Mexico because of the extraordinarily high strandings which had occurred. One day later, NMFS announced that the "ban" previously implemented would now be on a voluntary 90-day basis on outstanding capture permits. No captures of Atlantic bottlenose dolphins have occurred in the U.S. since 1989. In 1992, a further 609 bottlenose dolphins had stranded on the Atlantic and Gulf coasts. Strandings of Tursiops appeared to decline in 1993; however evidence of a morbillivirus infection was confirmed in tissue samples of five bottlenose dolphins which stranded on the coasts of northern Florida and Alabama. From February to April 1994, 220 bottlenose dolphins were found dead on the beaches of Texas. Also in 1993, the coastal mid-Atlantic migratory population of bottlenose dolphins was designated depleted. It should be noted that the numbers of stranded animals represents only those of recovered carcasses, and does not reflect those unrecovered: possibly as much as six times higher. When all the above factors are taken into account (ie the effects of removing individuals from populations and on the population from which they are removed; numbers which die from entanglement and other man-made causes; combined with the effects of chase; methods to determine live-capture quotas; an alarming increase in mass strandings, and the designation of some populations of bottlenose dolphins as depleted); they present very legitimate questions as to population stability.

Acclimatisation and transport.. According to dolphin captor Jay Sweeney (1990), "Most aquatic animals mammals housed in captive enclosures have been acquired from free-living sources. Few, if any, have had exposure or contact with humans and they have not been enclosed within a restricted space until the sudden event of their capture. At this time it becomes necessary for them not only to cope with capture, but also immediately begin to consume dead fish. They must adjust to restrictions in their free-ranging mobility, being placed in land-based pools which may be absent of the visual and auditory sensory stimuli of their natural habitat. They are required to acknowledge the presence of, and eventually accept, contact with humans." In other words, everything which follows capture is a forced association. Sweeney had operated one of the largest capture operations in the U.S., providing animals and veterinary expertise to international clients. Under his company, Dolphin Services International, he offered customers the preparation of U.S. permits, extended training and boarding, and a 90-day replacement guarantee. He voluntarily surrended his USDA dealers license on April 9, 1989 (Sweeney, 1989), but continues to capture for facilities abroad. Sweeney (1984) suggested that the minimum holding period to acclimatise a newlycaptured bottlenose dolphin is about 30 days, preferably at an off-site holding facility. Marine Animal Productions (Terrell, 1991) estimated acclimatisation and temporary holding between 30 days and 3 months or longer, in order to accomodate transport and permit schedules. Pryor (1975), formerly associated with Sea Life Park, described the


dietary portion of the acclimatisation process: "Eating dead fish instead of chasing down live ones is a tremendous change; dead fish are by no means recognisable as food at first. Force-feeding through a stomach tube is sometimes necessary to keep an animal alive until it learns to accept an artifical diet." Orca captor W.H. Dudok van Heel recommended that newly-captured animals ideally be brought directly into the final establishment, suggesting the next best thing was a holding facility for approximately six months of acclimatisation (cited in Hoyt, 1992). While some of the the larger marine parks which frequently transfer animals between facilities consider transport "routine", even the greatest detail in planning occasionally goes awry. The longest known transport by air of an orca was 68 hours in 1968: 33 hours longer than anticipated. At least two orcas experienced undue delays when cargo boxes were discovered not to fit within the doors of waiting aircraft (Howell, 1968; Taylor, 1977). Two bottlenose dolphins were shipped from Long Marine Laboratory in Santa Cruz, California to the Dolphin Research Center in Florida in 1988. Ordinarily, a non-stop flight would take about six hours. However, stops were made in Columbus, Ohio and Orlando, Florida resulting in stop-overs. The total elapsed time of the transfer was more than 18 hours. Upon arrival, open lesions were observed around the pectoral fins of one of the dolphins. Sweeney (1988) noted that there is a much higher likelihood of skin damage due to "pressure necrosis" when transporting larger animals, and higher probability of medical complications in the relocation of older animals. The dolphin died three weeks following shipment. Long Marine Lab was given a civil penalty of $500 for failing to transport marine mammals with adequate protective equipment and attention.

Ken Ramirez (1991) described the transport of Shedd's first two beluga whales from Pt. Defiance in Tacoma, Washinton to Chicago: "Our meticulously planned 10-hour transport turned into a 27-hour marathon. Bad weather delayed us slightly .. [and] an unmanned airport service truck somehow slipped into reverse and ran right into our plane's right wing. It would be many hours before a new part could be flown in to replace the damaged wing flap. We considered moving the animals back to Tacoma and rescheduling the transport. But because the belugas were resting comfortably, we finally decided to stay where we were." Jean-Michel Cousteau commented on the 1993 capture of three Pacific white-sided dolphins by the Shedd Aquarium: "There is much that is troubling about the Shedd capture. Once housed at a marine yard in San Diego, the animals were initiated into desensitisation' procedures, which, in the words of Shedd literature, is a calm and comfortable process' designed to ready the hypersensitive white-sides for their trip to the midwest. In fact, it is a two-week-long ordeal of force-fed dead fish and stretcher habituation that involves shedding much of their natural behaviour, in the interests of survival, in a swimming pool thirty feet across and eight feet deep."



Confinement.. More consideration must be given to housing aquatic species than terrestrial species, due to their unique social and physiological requirements. The enormity and diversity of their natural habitat is in stark contrast to the alien, minuscule confines of captivity. Although subtle and less visible, the greatest abuse suffered by captive cetaceans lies in confinement itself. Free-living cetaceans live in three-dimensional surroundings. They are capable of deep diving, and many species spend less than 20% of their time at the water's surface. In their natural environment, they are almost always in motion, even while resting. They maintain complex societies, form strong bonds, and are known to communicate with each other. Captives are torn from their natural social environment, deprived of their need to associate with their own kind and sentenced to a lifetime of confinement. Captivity defies, depresses, and denies the instincts which define each animal: the captive bears scant resemblance to its wild counterpart. Professionals within the zoological community have suggested general criteria for care, maintenance, and welfare which appear impossible to achieve when applied to the confinement of cetaceans. Representatives of Zoo Atlanta recommended the following: "The goal of care and maintenance should be to provide every animal in the collection with an environment that optimises health and welfare. In addition to satisfying physiological needs, this should include a living environment that offers speciesappropriate stimulation and a social environment that provides a species-representative group...In a successful zoo environment, the animals experience well-being, which would include physical health that is equal to or better than that experienced in the wild, with corresponding longevity and quality of life; reproduction success (if intended); and species-typical levels of behaviour. Abnormal behaviour should be absent or rare" (Maple et al, cited in Norton et al, 1995). Philosopher and author Dale Jamieson concluded "the acceptability of keeping animals in captivity would turn entirely on a case-by-case examination of the conditions under which various animals are kept" (cited in Norton et al, 1995). San Francisco University biology professor Hal Markowitz (1990) has written , "I know of no marine mammals kept in captivity in natural conditions. As a matter of fact, there is an inherent contradiction in using the term natural to refer to captive circumstances." Maple (et al) added, "Managers of captive species should never fool themselves with the belief that they can replicate nature in a captive setting. To expect this outcome would demonstrate an ignorance of the intricacies and complexities that characterise natural ecosystems" (cited in Norton et al, 1995). Veterinarian Jay Sweeney (1990) has written, "Husbandry problems of marine mammals in captivity often come directly from exhibiting animals in enclosed environments" (emphasis added). Scientists still consider some species particularly unsuited for confinement: "Some of the smaller, active cetaceans, such as Dall's porpoise, harbour porpoise, the freshwater Sotalia, and seemingly all the pelagic species require more space." Joseph Geraci (1986).


The striped dolphin is known to be a sensitive, highly-strung animal, spending most of its time off-shore in temperate and tropical waters." Linda Clokie, Port Elizabeth Oceanarium (1990). "A newly-captured porpoise or small whale is certainly frightened, and death from shock is not uncommon. Spinners and kikos [spotted dolphins] are particularly high-strung and apt to go into shock; some oceanariums will not even attempt to capture animals from this genus because they are frightened so easily." Karen Pryor (1975). "Few species seem to be genetically incompatible, but for some reason the common dolphin does not always co-exist well with the Atlantic bottlenose dolphin (Tursiops truncatus) and other large dolphins." Joseph Geraci (1986). Walker (1975) described common dolphins as "the most delicate of the four routinely-captured species" and "the most difficult to keep in captivity. "Shallenberger (cited in Reeves & Leatherwood, 1984) described the melonheaded whales at Sea Life Park, "In captivity they can become quite aggressive and must be handled carefully." Pryor (cited in Reeves & Leatherwood, 1984) described pygmy killer whales at Sea Life Park, "They proved aggressive and did not adapt well." The Fraser's dolphin, was described by Hammond & Leatherwood (1994): "we believe the nervousness and general fragility' of this species probably makes it unacceptable for captivity."

Social structure and compatibility... Confinement alters behaviour so radically that captives cannot depict a true sense of their species. Psychologist Bob Mullan and anthropologist Garry Marvin (1987) outlined the factors which change the character of captive animals: "separation from natural habitat; enforced idleness; direct control by humans; loss of life in normal social groups; drugs, medication and fertility control; and caging - a total alien environment with artificial diet, unusual noise, strange odours and the unnatural proximity of both alien species and the human visitor." One of the most important elements surrounding captivity is ensuring stability and compatibility within social groupings. Marine mammal veterinarian Joseph Geraci (1986) has written, "Aggressive hierarchical dominance behaviour, which is natural in the wild, has little outlet for expression in captivity, other than to disrupt the colony and to damage subordinates. Restricted space seems to intensify such behaviour. Of course, there are always individual animals that can disrupt the collection. It is not uncommon for a dominant dolphin to lead an injurious attack on a helpless poolmate." Sweeney (1990) noted that, "we are able to determine what the normal social dynamics are, within many marine mammal species. These dynamics are important when we look at marine mammals in captivity, where similar social dynamics interplay but where, due to the relative confinement of captivity, certain aspects of the normal social dynamics are impeded" (emphasis added).


In August 1967, Marineland of the Pacific released Bimbo, its pilot whale, after nearly eight years in captivity. The release followed incidents of aggression toward other animals and keepers; the whale had also broken observation windows. Dr. M.E. Webber, a physician with an interest in whale and dolphin research, described Bimbo as "psychotic" (cited in Valentry, 1969). Marineland's orca, Corky, broke an observation window in 1985, resulting in the loss of more than one-third of the tank's water (personal observation). Researcher Susan Shane, working both in Texas and Florida, defined the behavioural flexibility of the species by showing that the intimate patterns of daily dolphin life vary from place to place. Her co-authored report (et al, 1986) concluded that, "the largest adult male [is] dominant over all other tank-mates. A less rigid dominance hierarchy existed between the females, with the largest females dominant over smaller animals. Much of the time, however, captive colonies have contained adult males from different capture localities; in these cases the males have fought viciously during the breeding season, to the extent that most oceanaria now generally maintain a single adult male per tank. This suggests that dominance relationships may be longestablished within dolphin groups, with little need for frequent contests." Sweeney (1990) supported these findings, commenting that "in oceanariums which acquire several juvenile individuals from the wild, there are frequently maladjustments experienced in social behaviour (which) most likely occur when individuals were captured out of separate and individual social groups, and thus were being asked to establish their own order in new environments." Dominance has been displayed by captive dolphins in the form of jaw claps, biting, ramming or tail-slaps against subordinates (Shane et al, 1986). According to Sweeney (1990), "aggression appears most commonly in the form of intimidation, with inflictions of rake-bite lacerations to the secondary animal." Sweeney noted that "it was unusual for adult males to spend much interactive time within the social group. The situation in captivity, however, creates one basic alteration to this normal structure: adult males interact permanently with the social group. Frequently, this interaction results in the establishment of a dominant male individual. It is evident from many observed interactions in captivity that this male dominance, when present, is often the source of many social and behavioural problems, especially related to juveniles within the group." Marine mammal veterinarian Leslie Dieruaf (1990) explains, "Movement of a marine mammal from its established environment to one where it has to re-establish itself in a different social order will stimulate a biological response. The change or the new surroundings may be perceived as a threat from which the animal cannot escape." Trainers Gail Laule & Tim Desmond (1991) reflected: "Consider the impact of moving animals between social units. Transporting animals from one pool to another, or one continent to another, has become a relatively safe procedure. But what are the social and psychological consequences of moving animals from one social grouping to another? Undoubtedly, it puts pressure and stress on the relocated animal, as well as upon the social groups affected, which have lost or gained one or more individuals. What is the price they pay? It is time to ask that question and look hard for the answer."


In orca society, where the spirit of kinship prevails, the oldest matriarch is typically the dominant animal. In captivity, generally the oldest or largest female is the dominant animal; however exceptions have occurred, especially in smaller facilities. Trainer Gail Laule (1991) described her experiences working with orcas at Marineland of the Pacific: "By far my most important teacher, and the animal that has left the most lasting impression on me, was Orky. He and Corky, adult breeding killer whales, lived together in a woefully inadequate facility, without holding or med pools. ...They had their roles, dominant male and subdominant female, and all the diversity and subtlety of behaviour which those labels fail to reflect. In fact, it was Orky who taught me that being dominant is not just a type of behaviour or a position in a pecking order, it is an integral part of who that animal is. ...If showtime arrived and Corky was reluctant to work, we made our best guess whether it was due to her rebellion or his coercion, and took time-out accordingly." Corky was indeed the subordinate animal when abruptly transferred to Sea World, San Diego in January 1987. Having lived some 18 years in Marineland's meager 750,000 gallon tank, neither Orky nor Corky had experienced "gating", or using interconnecting pools, such as those found at Sea World. Sea World had not held a bull orca for nearly a year and reports soon surfaced that Sea World's orcas were vocalising much more frequently. No one paid much attention to the unrelenting harassment of Corky by Kandu, the dominant orca. Then, in 1989, Kandu rammed Corky in front of a stadium full of spectators, fracturing her own jaw. Spouting blood from a ruptured artery, Kandu died 45 minutes later. The show continued until puzzled trainers realised something was wrong, then quickly ushered out the shocked spectators. Kandu's orphaned calf, only 11 months-old, even performed the following day. Sea World claimed it was a "normal" display of dominance, and tried to suppress media accounts by describing the incident as an "altercation" which ended tragically. However, no researcher had witnessed aggression nearing this level in more than twenty years of observing wild orcas. Researcher Kenneth Balcomb commented that, "In the wild, they don't solve their problems aggressively. It's not normal. Killer whales travel in kinship groups or clans and they don't have those aggressive interactions. If other whales come along from a different group, they just avoid each other. Obviously, you can't do that in a tank" (cited in Georgatos, 1989). Whilst some aggressive incidents have been observed in recent years between resident and transient orcas in the Pacific Northwest, such incidents were, generally, very low-key in comparison to displays of aggression all too common in the captive setting. Another example of incompatibility was the relationship between two male orcas at Sea World's Florida park. Kotar was a small Icelandic orca, captured in 1978. Kanduke arrived in 1987 from Marineland, Canada. He was a transient orca, originally captured in British Columbia in 1975. These two types of orca would have never been found together in nature. Both males frequently exhibited aggression towards each other, with no opportunity to escape confrontations. A former trainer reported that Kotar would often beach himself and make crying sounds. Kanduke was also described as making continual crying vocalisations and occasionally beat his head against the gate until it bled.


In early January 1987, Kotar reportedly bit Kanduke's penis, turning the pool water red with blood and causing sufficient injury to cancel shows for two days (Mazzoil, personal communication). Brad Andrews (1991) explained that "Kotar was a younger animal while at the Florida facility" and described his behaviour as "consistent with a healthy, mature breeding male" when moved to Texas in 1988. When Kanduke died in 1990, the necropsy report (Walsh, 1990) indicated "a penile scar 10 cm long was present" (emphasis added). When the male orca, Ulysses, arrived at Sea World's San Diego park from Barcelona, reports indicated his purpose was to sire calves. Five months after his arrival, he had still not been introduced into the same pool with the only viable breeding female, Kasatka, who was still caring for her three-year-old calf. Trainer Mike Scarpuzzi said that, "it was crucial that Ulysses understand Kasatka, the dominant orca. If he doesn't, the results could be violent. Maybe even deadly" (in Kutcher, 1994). Marine mammal inventory reports reveal only a clue of the number of cetacean deaths resulting from traumatic injuries or possible incompatibility: "haemorrhage", "trauma by male dolphin", "traumatic cerebral haemorrhage", "killed by another animal", "related to jaw fracture", "jumped out", and "spinal fracture". Sometimes necropsy reports offer further insight. Of course, marine parks don't publicly announce each death which occurs. But occasionally deaths are highly publicised, especially those captured on video which call public attention to the incident. But there has never been any satisfactory explanation as to why animals which possess highly-sophisticated echolocation have broken observation windows or collided with pool walls, whilst presumably familiar within their surroundings. One can only speculate whether such incidents represent possible "fight or flight" scenarios. Although the U.S. Animal Welfare Act requires that, "marine mammals which are not compatible shall not be housed next to animals that would cause them stress or discomfort, or interfere with their good health", it is believed no facility has ever been cited for non-compliance with this regulation. Jamieson noted that "even the best zoos have problems with preventable mortality and morbidity due to accidents or abuse and are, all too often, in league, wittingly or unwittingly, with people whose idea of a good animal is one that turns a quick profit" (cited in Norton et al, 1995). Before the Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA) was amended in 1994, regulations were being considered which required, among other provisions, that: "whenever known to occur in social units in the wild, marine mammals held under special exemption permits must be held with other marine mammals of the same species in a manner and composition that in number, sexual ratio, and age structure provides the closest practicable approximation of the known fundamental social unit found in the wild" (NOAA, 1993). It is hardly surprising that the industry spent so much to prevent these, and other regulations, being enacted! Marine parks certainly don't hold orcas in a number or sex/age composition which resembles those found in wild populations. Following twenty years of extensive observational research of orcas in the Pacific Northwest, Olesiuk (et al, 1990)


estimated that stable populations were comprised of 56.4% females and 43.6% males. Overall, the composition was 50.3% juveniles, 18.7% mature males, and 31% mature females. In contrast, Sea World holds the largest number of orcas (19 as of January 1998). These, however, are distributed among its four parks. If they were all together, they would comprise 12 females (63%) and 7 males (37%). Overall, the composition is 12 juveniles (63%), 2 mature males (11%), and 5 mature females (26%). Other marine parks aren't even close. Marineland, Canada holds 2 mature females, 1 mature adult, and and 4 juveniles. Marine World Africa USA, Miami Seaquarium, Oregon Coast Aquarium and the Vancouver Aquarium all maintain solitary animals. It should be noted however, that the numbers held in captivity are far too small a sample for population comparisons. Even more appalling, is the maintenance of different species in the same pool which are never found together in nature. Several marine parks feature shows consisting of two or more species, some of which originate from vastly different geographical areas, such as dolphins from temperate/tropical zones, Pacific white-sided dolphins from temperate waters, and beluga whales from arctic zones. These groupings mislead the public about natural history and inter-species relationships. When cetaceans are placed in confinement and deprived of visual, acoustic and other sensory stimulation found in nature, then the fundamental premise of the MMPA is disregarded, namely: "Marine mammals are an integral part of marine ecosystems." The Act never refers to marine mammals independent of their natural ecosystems. In order to meet the standards of consistency within the purposes and policies of the Act, marine parks must display animals in a manner which demonstrates relationships between species and their natural habitat. When maintained outside this context, little knowledge or understanding is derived. Ornithologist Robert Loftin explained: "When an animal is removed from its context, the ecosystem, it is degraded immediately most of its value is lost" (cited in Norton et al, 1995). Marine parks are able to construct small exhibits of aquatic fish capable of depicting ecosystems, but no facility has the capability to replicate nature in a manner large enough to convey this understanding with cetaceans.

Causes of mortality... Sea World's written statements to NMFS reveal contradictory accounts of mortality causes among orcas within a single presentation (1991). Brad Andrews claimed that "more than two-thirds of the [orca] deaths we've experienced were related to old age, and illnesses or injuries the animals sustained before coming to Sea World." At the same time, veterinarian Jim McBain emphasised that "marine mammals in controlled environments are spared many of the problems affecting their counterparts in the wild, including such things as parasites, predators, natural toxins, natural disasters such as freezing, pollution, variations in the availability of food, and the need to compete with man for food." Yet, veterinarian Michael Walsh reiterated that killer whales "have died of a variety of diseases that can afflict any animal, anywhere (emphass added). A major proportion of our killer whale deaths were related to old


age, or to illnesses or injuries the animal sustained before coming to our parks. Others die of diseases that occur in any population." The ambiguity of these statements is striking. Only one orca listed on Sea World's Marine Mammal Inventory Report attributes "old age" as the cause of death. Citing "old age" as the cause of the majority of orca deaths is certainly debatable. Similarly, blaming deaths on illnesses or injuries which occurred prior to acquisition increases doubt regarding Sea World's asserted policy of preventive medicine, as well as their choice in acquiring animals. In its quest to secure a continual source to replace dying orcas, Sea World has maintained friendly relationships with other marine parks maintaining orcas. Contrary to the standards of the Alliance of Marine Mammal Parks and Aquariums in which it plays a significant role, Sea World has not shown any criticism towards any substandard facility maintaining orcas; to do so might jeopardise future acquisitions. Obtaining orcas appears to be planned well in advance. Sea World has received a number of newly-captured animals from foreign facilities under the pretence of breeding loans or, based on the false premise that the animals were already established in captivity. Sea World appears on the Marine Mammal Inventory Reports as "collector" in the 1977 captures of the orcas Winnie, for Trident Television/Windsor Safari Park, in England, and Hoi Wai, for Ocean Park Corp. in Hong Kong. Sea World, has also purchased animals with full awareness of existing physical or behavioural problems. The most notable example was the purchase of the three Sealand orcas in 1991. In correspondence regarding the permit application, Sea World could not adequately respond to questions raised by National Marine Fisheries, regarding the death of trainer Keltie Byrne (Andrews, 1991), who drowned from the repeated submersion by the three orcas after falling into the whale pool at Sealand of the Pacific in Canada. Another striking example was the purchase of the male orca, Kanduke, from Marineland, Canada in 1987. Both Marineland and Sea World were fully aware that this animal had swallowed a float while at the Canadian facility (Mazzoil, personal communication). Kanduke died in 1990; the necropsy report confirmed the findings of a "55 x 20 x 13 cm deflated fishing buoy" found in the stomach contents. Although the exact cause of death was undetermined, the necropsy indicated that a virus was the most likely cause (Walsh, 1990). Captive cetaceans are certainly not spared from parasites, nor natural toxins. Indeed, necropsy reports commonly reveal parasites of trematode, nematode and tapeworms. Maple (et al) noted, "it is unrealistic to expect that the natural processes of aging, or the ability of parasitic and infectious organisms to change in virulence in the host's defenses, will be eliminated by medical techniques available at the zoo" (cited in Norton et al, 1995). Other marine parks have reported deaths in Marine Mammal Inventory Reports and necropsy reports due to "palm frond toxicity", "oleander poisoning", "chlorine toxicity", "zinc poisoning", "stingray spine penetration", "possible toxic fish", "enteroxemia/food poisoning", "probable botulisism", and "net entanglements". Orcas are recognised as the top predator in the sea, therefore, Man is the only species which represents a threat to their survival. Certainly risks also occur in the ocean, but


captivity can neither guarantee an animal's safety, nor a longer life. Confinement does, however, tremendously compromise the quality of life.

The drooping dorsal debate... Adult bull orcas in the wild are easily distinguished by their tall dorsal fins, which can attain a height nearing 6 ft. (183 cm), whereas the dorsal fins of females reach only about 3 ft. (91 cm) (Bigg et al, 1990). After a few years in captivity, the tall dorsal fin of the mature male begins to bend to the side, eventually collapsing. Even the smaller dorsal fins of the mature female usually begins to bend (Hoyt, 1992). Sea World, which has held the greatest number of orcas, attempts to explain this phenomenon in its 1993 "educational" booklet, Killer Whales: "Like the flukes, the dorsal fin is made of dense, fibrous connective tissue, with no bones. The dorsal fin acts as a keel, stabilising a killer whale while it swims. As in the flukes and flippers, arteries in the dorsal fin are surrounded by veins to help maintain body temperature. In adult males, the dorsal fin is tall and triangular. It may reach a height of 6 ft. (1.8 m). In females, the dorsal fin is smaller and may be slightly falcate (curved back). It reaches a height of 3 to 4 ft. (0.9 to 1.2 m). Both male and female killer whales have irregular-shaped dorsal fins, sometimes leaning to the left or the right." Sea World's description offers no explanation as to why the dorsal fin bends and makes no mention that bent dorsal fins are almost unique to captive orcas. Thus, what Sea World portrays as "fact" is clearly misleading. While scientists can't fully explain the severity or significance of "drooping fins" seen in captives, the consensus appears to be that it is due to gravity, circular swimming patterns, and the inordinate amount of time captives spend at the water's surface, where sunlight may alter the structure of the fin's collagen. Whilst some minor irregularities have been observed during more than 20 years of studying wild populations in the Pacific North-west, only about 1% are estimated to have dorsal fins bent to the extent of those seen in captives. Sea World has become so sensitive about drooping fins in recent years that orcas are carefully photographed for their publications and advertisements. One patron who visited Sea World in 1995 was told by a hostess that the bent fins are "inherited from their mothers and fathers, like eye colour" (Moore, 1995). When asked in 1994 about the distinctive wavy fin of the orca Ulysses, Sea World's Brad Andrews said that crooked fins develop when the collagen becomes overheated, for example, when an animal sits at the surface of the water for long periods of time. Andrews commented, "It doesn't mean anything really. I like it. It's a little bit different" (cited in Kucher, 1994). In fact, most marine mammals are able to partially shut down peripheral blood flow to the appendages (such as the dorsal fin) and outer layers of the skin, in order to avoid excessive heat loss: a process known as "thermo-regulation".



Responses to typical pro-captivity arguments...

The following arguments are frequently employed by those who defend the practice of maintaining cetaceans in captivity. Each is followed by a rational counter-argument and supporting examples.

i."Marine parks are not zoos."

"...Sea World is, first and foremost, a zoological park." (Robert Gault Jr., President, Sea World of California, 1990) Response: Early zoos were explicitly meant to demonstrate and celebrate the domination of nature by man. They included all sorts of exotics, both human and nonhuman. As the control of zoos moved from rich and powerful individuals to communities and governments, they were increasingly seen as sources of urban amusement (Jamieson, cited in Norton et al, 1995). Still, a distinction must be made between genuine zoological institutions and marine parks. Zoos are quick to point out that "about 93% of all mammals and 75% of all birds added to AZA collections in recent years were zoo bred" (Koontz, cited in Norton et al, 1995). In contrast, about 32% of all cetacean species surviving today in U.S. marine parks were captive- born (according to MMIRs). This indicates that the vast majority of captive cetaceans are still obtained from the wild. Unlike zoological institutes, marine parks specialise almost exclusively in exhibiting aquatic species. All North American aquariums feature performing animal shows to some extent - more closely


resembling the circus tradition, while several facilities emphasise mechanical rides as the main attraction, with performing animal acts tacked on as sideshow attractions. Several commercial facilities have evolved into "theme parks," shamelessly characterised by both performing animal shows and mechanical rides. To further elaborate on the commercial aspect of marine parks, a number of facilities including all U.S. parks which currently maintain orcas - are members of the International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions (IAAPA). The IAAPA is the world's largest association for permanently-located amusement facilities. The affiliation with an organisation promoting arcades, racetracks, carousels, roller coasters and similar ventures certainly questions the professional integrity of so-called "zoological institutes" which profess a genuine committment to education, conservation and research! "Many of the shows that were offered in the early years of this century were crossovers from the ranks of circus performers and their animals. At times, it had become painfully evident that the presence of these trainers and their animals was not welcomed by the resident zoo keepers.... They saw this as a worse-case example of animal exploitation for the sake of profits (emphasis added), and undoubtedly, they were correct in some cases" (Vic Charfauros, San Diego Zoological Society, 1990). "Initially, zoos and aquariums capitalised upon the marine mammal mystique (emphasis added), exploiting the appeal of whales and dolphins primarily to generate revenue; educating visitors was auxilliary." (Tom Otten, Pt. Defiance Zoo & Aquarium, 1991). Nicholas Brown, director of the National Aquarium in Baltimore, believes that the marriage between zoos and aquariums is a forced one, and that, with few exceptions, zoos which have tried to include an aquarium have not succeeded (cited in Marshall, 1994). "The majority of Marine World's public visitors come to see the Park' or to show the kids'. They know that what they will experience in our Park is substantially different from what they are permitted to experience in a more traditional zoo setting" (emphasis added), (Marineworld, 1991). Besides performing animal shows, one of the greatest dissimilarities between zoos and marine parks is the latter's encouragement of public interaction with captive wildlife, as evidenced by the proliferation of "petting pools", touch tanks, feeder pools and swim-with programmes. Interactive programmes take advantage of the public, profiting by the sale of feeder fish at petting pools, and by offering pricey, inappropriate personal encounters. When allowed to enter the water with dolphins, the public is also indulged by the temptation to fulfill a fantasy at an outrageous cost. The encounter is sometimes misconstrued by the public as a mystical or spiritual experience, a description neither confirmed nor denied by marine parks. Sea World's public relations director Fred Jacobs claimed that, "One reason people come to Sea World, rather than to other theme parks, is the personal and interactive experiences with live animals [which] the park offers" (cited in Schwab, 1995).


NMFS authorized four facilities to conduct swim-with-the-dolphin programmes between 1985 to 1994, considered experimental and provisional, and subject to lax regulations. Since APHIS has gained jurisdiction over marine mammals already in captivity, such programmes are virtually unrestricted, and conducted in numerous formats. Soon after Sea World in San Diego opened interactive programmes, they allowed a wedding to take place amongst the dolphins, complete with a reverend and two dolphins which mocked giving away the bride (Disbsie, 1997). By contrast, the majority of zoos do not wish to domesticate their stock. Rather, they wish them to resemble, as much as possible, the species in its natural habitat, and certainly they hope that the visitor will perceive them that way. The normal and appropriate relationship between humans and wild animals is one of distance (Mullan & Marvin, 1987).

Big business... Sea World, in particular, has literally built a financial empire on the back of its corporate logo and chief money-spinner: the killer whale. A 1978 permit application boldly stated: "The killer whale has become over the years synonymous with the name Sea World." Perhaps the fact that Sea World has experienced more orca deaths over the years may explain why much of the controversy and debate whether or not orcas should be maintained in captivity at all has been directed at them. In 1995 Sea World in San Diego employed a Director of Public Relations whose previous occupation was with Ringling Brothers Circus. By 1994, Sea World's annual budget for its four parks reached a staggering $164 million, with capital improvements reported at $105 million (Boyd, 1994) - while profits remained below 1990 levels (Melcher, 1993). There is no doubt that the King of Beers is also the king of marine parks. August Busch III, who reigns over the Anheuser-Busch dynasty, doesn't like media or publicity which he can't control (Hernon & Ganey, 1991). Since 1989, Busch Entertainment Corporation has owned and operated the four Sea World parks in California, Ohio, Florida and Texas, besides Busch Gardens in Florida which also maintains dolphins. Highly commercial, admission fees alone are much higher than a not-for-profit zoo or aquarium would ever dare charge (Marshall, 1994). No other marine park offers the unique combination of aquatic wonders with Clydesdale horses, complete with complimentary samples from Anheuser-Busch breweries. Sea World has, perhaps, remained more noticeable than other marine parks in their prevailing secrecy to obtain orcas through "exchange", breeding loans and imports. Therefore, suspicions mounted with their 1994 acquisition of the orca Ulysses from the Barcelona Zoo. The male orca was supposedly being "temporarily" maintained, whilst Barcelona expanded its facility. The perception now appears to be warranted, considering Anheuser-Busch's investment in the Spanish venture Port Aventura, S.A., slated to be the second largest theme park in Europe. Additionally, the export permit for Ulysses appears to have been issued in 1989, suggesting ample suspicion of an advanced arrangement (1990 U.S. Annual CITES Reports and World Conservation Monitoring Centre, 1995).


The World Conservation Monitoring Centre notes that the yearly permits issued may not necessarily represent actual trade; U.S. Annual CITES Reports indicate one orca imported from Spain in 1989 and 1994, yet Ulysses is the only orca the U.S. has ever received from Spain. According to Stefan Ormrod (1995), who played a major role in the passage of the Zoo Licensing Act in the UK, "there is good reason for being worried about any animals sent to Spain, which is acknowledged as the gateway to illegal wildlife trade in the European Community". Sea World's advertising has been more visible than that of any other marine park. Under Busch Entertainment Corp., Sea World has hosted a number of televised events, from the Miss California beauty pageant to Fourth of July extravaganzas and even environmental awards presentations. Anheuser-Busch advertised lavishly during the Olympics, promoting both its beer products and theme parks, with official sponsorship of the 1996 Summer Olympics and 1998 Winter Olympic Games. As a result of their advertising, the average American sees the Budweiser logo ten times a day (Smith, 1993). In marine park shows, animals are conditioned to perform tricks, or behaviours, which marine parks insist are extensions of natural behaviour. While many species are indeed naturally athletic, the term "extension" is stretched to the fullest breadth of the imagination. Orcas do not "naturally" catapult humans into the air, or tolerate being ridden, climbed upon, or walked on. Dolphins do not "naturally" allow trainers to "water ski" on their backs, straddling two dolphins, in what is referred to as a Roman ride. Tail-walking is not a behaviour observed in wild populations of Tursiops, nor is "breaching" seen among beluga whales. Performances using props present potential risks of ingesting foreign objects, as do demonstrations of echolocation which use "eye cups". Marine parks eagerly purchased the "new" eye cups which were digestible, suggesting their previous hazardous use. A Sea World advertisement appearing in Mcleans magazine (November 18, 1991) pictured a child sitting on an orca. The title stated, "Every great theme park has an unforgettable ride." The caption beneath the photograph states, in part, "When it comes to memorable experiences, perhaps nothing compares with sitting on the back of a killer whale. At any number of his Sea World shows, Shamu graces some lucky child with a thrill that is shared by the entire audience." Marine parks must be recognised for what they truly represent: aquatic amusement parks, circuses by another name, operated under the guise of education, conservation and research.

ii. Public opinion... "Nationwide polling underscores that the American people overwhelmingly believe that zoos, aquariums, and marine parks play a key role in protecting animals and wildlife and in educating the public about the animals, their habitat and environmental conservation." (AZA/Alliance testimony before the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science & Transportation, 1993)


Response: While many people do visit zoos and marine parks, it is impossible to ascertain the numbers which do not; namely, those who find confinement questionable or offensive. In 1992, the public relations firm Fleshman-Hillard was commissioned to conduct a Roper "public opinion poll" entitled Public attitudes towards aquariums, animal theme parks and zoos. Al Fleshman, one of the founders of Fleshman-Hillard, had been a longtime public relations specialist and personal confidant to Gussie Busch dating back to at least the 1950s (Heron & Ganey, 1989). The firm continues to serve Anheuser-Busch. The poll results have frequently been used to support the pro-captivity statement. One example of the poll concluded: "89% agree mostly that it's best to see animals in their own environment, but most people won't get to, so parks are important" (cited in Davey, 1994). The questions asked by the polling firm are far from being objective. The above example contains the qualifier "but most people won't get to [see animals in their own environment]", clearly diluting the response, "- so parks are important", resulting in a distorted and vague conclusion. Because pollsters know which words elicit positive and negative responses, each question was deliberately loaded to produce the desired positive response. The conclusions drawn from such dubious questions reduces the poll results to the opinion and perception of marine parks, rather than the opinion of the public. Another example of the Roper poll concluded that, "79% agree mostly that most successes in saving endangered or declining species have come from work done in these institutions." David Hancocks, executive director of the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum, has said, "There is a commonly-held misconception that zoos are not only saving wild animals from extinction, but also reintroducing them to their wild habitats. The confusion stems from many sources, all of them zoo-based" (emphasis added). "One resulting serious problem is the sense of complacency this engenders among the public, who are led to believe that zoos are taking care of the problem of endangered wildlife" (Hancocks, cited in Norton et al, 1995). According to statistician Darrell Huff (1982): "Statistical methods and statistical terms are necessary in reporting the mass data of social and economic trends, business conditions, opinion' polls, the census. But without writers who use the words with honesty and understanding and readers who know what they mean, the result can only be semantic nonsense.... The operation of a poll comes down in the end to a running battle against bias, and this battle is conducted all the time by all the reputable polling organisations.... Actually, as we have seen, it is not necessary that a poll be rigged that is, that the results be deliberately twisted in order to create a false impression." Wuichet and Norton (cited in Norton et al, 1995) noted that: "Opinion polls show that the public exhibits a wide variety of attitudes toward wildlife. Some of the variation in positions taken by members of the public on issues surrounding captive care can be accounted for by variation in the underlying conceptions of what it means for a captive animal to have well-being". American humourist, Artemus Ward, suggested a more appropriate perspective in his words, "It ain't so much the things we don't know that get us in trouble. It's the things we do know that ain't so."


The most comprehensive industry statistics and data based on a public survey indicate that more than three million persons who had visited zoos and aquariums did not anticipate visiting such facilities in the next twelve months (IAAPA, 1994). The survey revealed that more people are willing to travel further, and spend more time and money visiting natural attractions than visiting theme parks, zoos or aquariums. A 1989 survey conducted by the Department of Interior, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service concluded that 109.6 million Americans (or over half of the adult population), actively feed, observe or photograph wildlife. More than $14.3 billion was spent on "non-consumptive" pastimes like bird feeding, wildlife photography or interacting with wildlife in their natural habitats. Non-consumptive wildlife-related activities exclude trips to zoos, museums and aquariums (Welsh, 1989). A model was developed to estimate both the probability of participation in this recreation and the number of hours people view, photograph, and feed wildlife away from the home. An average annual willingness to pay for access to non-consumptive wildlife recreation was calculated at between $198 and $3,731 per observation (Rockel, 1991). After the Vancouver Aquarium announced that "the practice of collecting killer whales from wild stocks will be discontinued", society members claimed their decision was based largely on public sentiment, "Assessments of public opinion suggest that collecting populations of killer whales for research and display purposes is no longer widely acceptable" (emphasis added). (Bohn, 1992). According to one industry source: "In marine parks and oceanariums around the world, trainers and their marine mammal friends actually shape the public's ideas about dolphins and whales" (Erb, 1992). Marketing professionals, especially those in public relations, have the potential to play an important role in helping to form the public's perception of wildlife conservation through captive management. In other words, public support for the work of zoos and aquariums hinges on marketing efforts. Former AZA public relations director Karen Allen noted "to a certain extent, good business dictates that we market ourselves to the desires of the public. After all, one of the basic tenets of marketing is Give the customer what he wants'. We design the market. We have been effectively telling the public what their expectations for zoos and aquariums should be" (cited in Norton et al, 1995). Author Erich Hoyt (1992) eloquently pointed out that the ethical and moral issue of confining cetaceans is a matter of belief. "There is no need for facts, only a true conviction. The AAZPA and other marine park proponents have a right to their beliefs too, but they cannot disprove those who disagree with them." Jamieson added "the point is that demands for data can be made by either party to the dispute. The fact is that there are anecdotes on both sides, qualitative material that different people evaluate in different ways, but very little that looks like hard data" (cited in Norton et al, 1995). A MORI public opinion survey carried out by WDCS in May 1996 indicated that most British people find it unacceptable for whales and dolphins to be kept in captivity (85% and 81% respectively). Reasons given for being against such confinement were chiefly intuitive or ethical. Indeed, most common is the broad idea


Its not natural (given by 55% against keeping cetaceans in captivity). This result is particularly important because the U.K does not have dolphinariums yet awareness and desire for the protection of cetaceans appears to be as strong, or stronger than ever, therefore refuting the claim that dolphinariums are needed to encourage such values.

iii. Inflated attendance figures.. "Visiting zoological facilities is one of America's favourite activities. Each year, more than 110 million people visit zoos, aquariums and wildlife parks - that's twice the attendance level of Major League Baseball." (Brad Andrews, Sea World, 1991.) Response: The figure looks impressive, but the absence of other figures takes away most of its meaning. Attendance levels are exaggerated, deceptive and unsubstantiated, considering that policies at many attractions forbid release of attendance figures. Also, combining attendance figures of zoological institutes, aquariums and theme parks does not distinguish the vast differences among such facilities. Quite simply, attendance does not justify an activity. Comparisons of attendance levels to those of major league baseball is meaningless, especially considering their media accessibility. In this context, one could argue that bullfighting in Spain and Mexico is justified, purely on the basis of its ticket revenues, which are largely dependent on curious tourists. The largest of existing bullrings far surpass the capacity of stadium seating at the largest marine parks. Yet, the vast number of Spaniards and foreigners view these spectacles as a shameful disgrace. The money spent every year on building, expanding and improving U.S. zoos and aquariums has nearly quadrupled in a decade, from $350 million in 1982 to $1.2 billion in 1992. The ancient business of making money from wild animals has resulted in cut-throat competition. In response to growing criticism, zoos and aquariums are marketing themselves not as cagers of animals, but as protectors of species. However, despite claims of public support, attendance is barely inching up and cashstrapped governments are slashing budgets in federal grants for their non-profit zoos (Jones, 1993). Why pour billions of dollars into "sinking arks", when other environmental and social issues are equally desperate for revenue? The competition for tourist dollars is so fierce and the number of proposed facilities so great that the market may be close to reaching a saturation level beyond recovery. No marine park has yet revealed what percentage of its annual operating budgets is allocated to advertising, marketing, public relations and lobbying efforts. The most reliable source indicating attendance levels has been the International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions publication Amusement Business. Still, attendance figures are estimated for many facilities, due to their reluctance to disclose true figures. In the two years since the "new" Indianapolis Zoo opened, membership dropped 47%; attendance also fell 19% (1990).


Between 1991 and 1994, attendance had dropped 18.3% at Chicago's Shedd Aquarium (Cleaver, 1995). The Vancouver Aquarium's attendance has dropped 20% since 1990 (Obee, 1992). The New York Aquarium opened in 1896, drawing more than 1.6 million people by 1898 (Garibaldi, 1995). Today's facility - Aquarium for Wildlife Conservation drew an attendance of 800,000 in 1994 - or 50% less than when it opened nearly 100 years ago (Boyd, 1994). Occasionally, more reliable information may be uncovered. For example, Sea World, San Diego must report attendance levels to the California Coastal Commission, whenever any proposed development within the park may adversely impact the environment or affect public access to the shoreline. On January 26, 1995 Sea World applied for a permit for the construction of a fourth orca pool. Commission recommendations noted 1994 attendance levels at 3.6 million - down from the reported 1992 attendance level of 3.8 million (California Coastal Commission Staff Report, 1995). In August 1995, it was announced that Marine World Africa USA was experiencing financial difficulties, barely able to repay City-issued bonds which had accumulated to an astonishing $54 million. Privatisation has been considered, or possibly selling the entire park. Its president, Michael Demetrious, said "we learned painfully if you don't build something new in the park, attendance will dwindle. It becomes a selfdefeating spiral" (cited in Hayes, 1995). Marine World was purchased by Preimer Parks in April 1997, with plans to spend $30 million adding numerous thrill rides and a $4 million Dolphin Show Stadium. Miami Seaquarium, one of America's oldest marine parks, is currently facing a complex dilemma of leviathan proportions. Unable to compete with newer and larger marine parks in Florida, the Miami park has spiralled into a state of deterioration and declining attendance. Its orca pool has been criticised as the smallest whale tank in North America, measuring just 35 ft.(10.6 m) by 80 ft.(24 m), and ranging in depth between 12 ft. and 20 ft.(3.6 m to 6 m). Americans are not spending more dollars on recreation; they are just redirecting the ways in which these dollars are spent. The growing number of recreational activities available to the American public has created a competitive atmosphere for attracting discretionary dollars. So zoos and aquariums are having to allocate more money for marketing and advertising than ever before, in an attempt to generate adequate attendance levels. In addition, they are finding that they must conduct various nonanimal-oriented promotions, not only to draw visitors but to generate other forms of earned revenue (Wylie, 1990). One of the latest fads to market zoos and aquariums for additional revenue is that of after-hour rentals. A number of zoos and marine parks are making their facilities available for corporate and regional meetings, over-night stays, dinner parties, cocktail parties, conventions and weddings. A few will even allow clients to handle some of the animals. Renting a zoo or aquarium costs more than a hotel banquet hall, but it's a unique and profitable way to offer non-traditional customers who want to


catch a few zzz's in the seas, dance beside sharks, seal deals among the seals, or be surrounded by tuxedoed penguins (Jones, 1993).

iv. Ducking the issue... "In an age of severe ocean pollution, oil spills, tuna net deaths and deaths from entanglement in discarded fishing gear, certain groups have unfortunately chosen to focus their time and energy on questioning the validity of displaying marine mammals at public aquariums." (National Aquarium in Baltimore, 1989) Response: This statement is an obvious attempt to shift the focus away from cetaceans held in marine parks and onto an entirely different issue. Its message implies that confinement is acceptable, considering the comparatively larger number of marine mammals killed during the course of commercial fishing. This logic unconvincingly attempts to rationalise captivity because fewer animals are affected. The philosophical difference is that both issues are equally objectionable, resulting in unnecessary suffering and death. Quite simply, one form of injustice does not vindicate another. Of greater significance, marine parks have done little to educate the public about dolphin deaths which have occurred during the course of commercial fishing. Rather, it is environmental groups who may be credited for creating public awareness through tuna boycotts and graphic depictions of dolphin deaths in the media. Additionally, environmental groups brought about regulations in 1990 requiring the labelling of "dolphin safe" tuna and prohibiting the import of tuna "caught on dolphin". Now that the ban has been weakened, what position, if any, did marine parks taking to prevent the impending legislation sacrificing dolphins for foreign trade? Marine parks have, in fact, retained a dubious relationship with the tuna industry. During the hearings which led up to the enactment of the Marine Mammal Protection Act of 1972, lobbyist George Steel represented both Sea World and the American Tunaboat Association (Regenstein, 1975). Sea World's dolphin shows were once sponsored by StarKist, long before restrictions were placed on tuna "caught on dolphin". Several marine parks, including the Shedd Aquarium, Marine Animal Productions and the Marine Mammal Coalition (a consortium of major marine parks) have employed the services of attorney John Hodges. Hodges is also the attorney who, in 1992, provided legal counsel on behalf of the American Tunaboat Association during its efforts to modify or limit the embargo placed on existing tuna shipments (Earth Island Institute v. Mosbacher, et al, and American Tunaboat Association, case no. C88-1380 TEH). Marine parks might demonstrate more credibility of their own environmental concerns if they had not employed a legal counsel who had also represented the tuna industry, responsible for the deaths of millions of dolphins! Furthermore, the popular justification of captivity under the guise of "research" is analogous to whaling conducted by Japan and Norway under the guise of "science". Whilst marine parks are popular in Japan, one Japanese whaler has said, "Ethically, it is better to let an animal live a free and natural life and then kill it - even if painfully than to imprison it for its whole life before killing it" (cited in Holt, 1994). Those who argue that more concern should be placed upon populations, rather than individuals,


overlook the reality that individuals are exactly the focus of marine parks. This fact may account for the unwarranted distinction labelling captives as "ambassadors of their species".

v. Longevity and intelligence...

"The average lifespan of whales and dolphins in most oceanariums is now comparable to, or even longer than, the lifespan of their counterparts in the wild." (Jim Bonde, Marine World Africa USA, 1994) Response: Generally, the argument that captives experience abbreviated lifespans compared to free-living populations is often misinterpreted, since valid comparative data is limited. In recent years, the issue of longevity has been debated more by marine parks than by those opposing the confinement of cetaceans. The most extensive and often-cited long-term study of free-living Tursiops was based on studies by Duffield & Wells (1990), A Discussion on Comparative Data of Wild and Oceanarium Tursiops Populations. The study, however, included a disclaimer which stated, "Although we cannot necessarily assume that the Sarasota population is representative of Tursiops populations in general, it is the only one for which comparative demographic data are presently available." Wells' study of the Sarasota population involved an estimated 100 dolphins - a sample not large enough for reliable comparisons. Thus, the study was based on a significantly small population of animals, or about one-fourth the size of the current number of Tursiops in captivity. Another study frequently cited is that of DeMaster and Drevenak (1988), Survivorship Patterns in Three Species of Captive Cetaceans. According to the report, its secondary objective was, "to determine, if possible, whether survival in captivity differs significantly from survival in the wild." It concluded that: "At this time, it is not possible to compare the survivability of animals in captivity with that of animals in the wild." Sea World's Brad Andrews made the audacious claim that, compared to living in the open ocean, life in captivity is a Club Med vacation. "In the wild, animals are driven to find food. Here it's provided for them. They don't have to search that much for their food...They don't have to worry about breeding...protecting their young" (cited in Weddle, 1991). However, Jamieson (cited in Norton et al, 1995) noted that, "the [longevity] argument seems to overlook the fact that social pressures exist in zoos as well as in the wild, and in many cases such pressures are more intense in zoos because individuals are inhibited from responding to them in the ways in which they would in the wild. But more important, even if it could be shown that caged animals, whether human or nonhuman, live longer than those who are uncaged, this would not provide evidence for the claim about freedom. Nor could the claim be established by showing that caged animals are happier than uncaged animals. Liberty is not the same as longevity or happiness, nor does it always manifest in these ways. Moreover, there is very little


evidence for supposing that captive animals live longer or are happier in zoos than they are in the wild." Veterinarian and pathologist Gregory Bossart, affiliated with the Miami Seaquarium, commented that, "Dolphins are a very social animal. And studies have found that the more social an animal is, the higher the degree of mortality" (cited in Harrell, 1992). While it may be difficult to quantify data on bottlenose dolphins, due to poor and nonexistent recordkeeping of captives, there is, however, ample scientific evidence to demonstrate that the survival rate for young orcas has not improved (Olesiuk et al, 1990; Bigg et al, 1990; Ford et al, 1994). Michael Bigg's pioneering photoidentification techniques revolutionised field studies of orcas and other cetaceans worldwide. The studies, which began in 1973, continue today in the Pacific Northwest. Similar research techniques are now employed in Alaska, Argentina, Norway, and the sub-Antarctic. By 1992, 305 residents, 170 transients and nearly 200 "offshores" in the Pacific Northwest have been photo-identified and alphanumerically named and catalogued using more than 50,000 photographs (Ford et al, 1994). Orca researchers have determined the mean life expectancy is 29 years for males and 50 years for females; maximum life expectancy can be substantially higher (Olesiuk et al, 1990; Bigg et al 1990). The Center for Whale Research (1994), which studies orcas in the Greater Puget Sound through photo-identification, and updates an annual census, is quite clear about its position on orca longevity: "Almost 65% of the 94+ whales in Washington waters are over 45 years of age. There is clear evidence of several free-ranging male killer whales who are well into their 40s. Mature males would certainly be considered an important component of the species, and their early demise in captivity constitutes a major difference between captive and wild populations." In contrast, Marine World Africa, USA, cited the obscure figures of researcher David Bain (1991) on orca longevity: "A young adult male will be lucky to reach the age of 30, and a small percentage may reach their 50's. A young adult female is very likely to reach her 50's, but only a small percentage will live more than 60 years. Although the lifespan of a wild killer whale is potentially quite high, the average lifespan is only about 20 years." Bain (1991) appears to have reached his conclusions by looking at survival of captive animals. "If you look at most places, their mortality rates are similar to what we have observed in the wild. Which means, those behaviour estimates are supported by survivorship of captive animals. So that is backwards to what most animal rights people say. I'm saying that because animals live so long in captivity, we can believe that they live so long in the wild rather than saying that captive animals live a shorter period of time"...Bain is affiliated with Marine World Africa USA. Bain's rationale of applying survival of captives to determine survival of wild populations is what statisticians call a 'post hoc fallacy' at its best. Here, a real correlation has been used to bolster up an unproved cause-and-effect relationship (Huff, 1982). Staticians warn that unconscious bias may consist of a direct misstatement or an ambiguous statement that serves well. It may be selective of favourable data and suppressive of unfavourable. Units of measurement may be


shifted, as with the practice of using one year for one comparison and sliding over to a more favourable year for another. An improper measure may be used: for example, using a mean where a median would be more informative (perhaps all too informative). The unqualified word "average" may cover a multitude of sins. Certain questions should be asked: Is the sample large enough to permit any reliable conclusion? Is the correlation big enough to mean anything? A correlation given without a measure of reliability (probable error, standard error) is not to be taken very seriously. Further confusing Marine World's position on orca longevity, Marine World Africa USA's 1991-92 guidebook describes killer whales on page 64, stating, "Life Expectancy: 50 to 75 years." Of all facilities currently maintaining orcas, Sea World has been the most adamant and visible in its disagreement with the most current scientific findings. Sea World prefers to cite older studies by Christensen (1984); Heyning (1988); and Mitchell (1980), all of which were based on tooth-aging studies. Sea World's 1983 guidebook described this method, One tooth might be removed under local anesthesia to allow researchers to determine the age of some whales, just as we evaluate the age of trees by counting growth rings... Sea World pioneered this technique in dolphins and whales and it is now used worldwide." In fact, the "discovery" of estimating age by tooth-aging is credited to Nishiwaki and Yagi in 1953 (cited in Myrick, 1991), long before Sea World opened its doors in 1964. Even Sea World's own research has indicated that tooth-aging is unreliable for age determination in animals beyond twenty years of age (Myrick et al, 1988). Additionally, Sea World's veterinarian Michael Walsh (1991) commented that: "From a scientific standpoint it must be pointed out that it has not been shown that tooth layer aging is accurate in older animals" (emphasis added). According to Christensen (1989), whose studies are often referred to by Sea World, "While the etched-tooth technique provides clearly defined dentinal growth layers, their interpretation with regard to age is provisional" (emphasis added). With so many contradictions, it is clear that the "science" of determining age by tooth studies is neither credible nor reliable. Dr. Dan Odell (1995), research biologist at Sea World, has gone so far to state: "The most recent scientific studies suggest that a killer whale's life span is between 25 to 35 years, regardless of where it lives. It is important to remember field researchers have been studying killer whales for only 20 years. It's pure speculation when they conclude these animals may live to a maximum of 50 to 60 years." Significantly, whilst Sea World veterinarian Michael Walsh had attempted to discredit scientific findings from photo-identification techniques, stating in 1991 that "theoretical estimates of age based on visual observation, while interesting, should not be substituted for factual objective data simply because conclusive studies may require more time". Barely two years later, Sea World's 1993 "educational" booklet, Killer Whales, stated that: "Researchers have recently learned to recognise many individual killer whales from photographs, especially of their dorsal fins. Photoidentification promises to be an important new research tool for studying various aspects of cetacean biology, including movements, reproduction, behaviour, and


population dynamics. Photo-identification has the potential to document the lives of individual whales in great detail." Orca researcher Peter Olesiuk (1995) suggested that instead of using the conventional practice in determining annual survivorship (i.e. comparing survival rates of wild and captive orcas), it would be better to compare mortality rates. "As a simple example, DeMaster and Drevenak (1988) reported an annual survival rate of 0.96 for captive female killer whales whereas our estimate for mature females in the wild was 0.9886. At first glance, one might conclude that the values differ by only a few percent. However, expressed in terms of mortality (4.0% in captivity versus 1.14% in the wild), one might come to a different conclusion. Orcas have been maintained in captivity for some 30 years. It may take another 20 years for captives to attain the mean life expectancy, at least for females. Yet, Sea World continues to assert that survival has improved in recent years, although more orcas have died at Sea World within the last decade than between 1965 and 1986. With only one exception, all of the orcas which died at Sea World died well before they reached the mean life expectancy cited by field researchers in the Pacific Northwest, and well before Sea World's own conservative estimates of longevity. By contrast, in more than two decades of studies in the Pacific Northwest, not one female between the age of 12 and 25 years had died (Ford et al, 1994). What is not known about other species' longevity and social dynamics is unlikely to be learned under the artificial conditions of confinement. Long-term field studies based on observations and photo-identification techniques have revealed more about a species' natural history, social structure and longevity, than any research conducted on captives. Estimates given for life expectancies must be acknowledged for what they are - calculated approximations. Yet, mortality rates for all cetacean species (with the exception of the Atlantic bottlenose dolphin) unquestionably reveal their inappropriateness for confinement. Maple (et al) has claimed, "Whether wild animals experience greater well-being than captive animals is a subject of debate that will always be susceptible to the imposition of human values" (cited in Norton et al, 1995). Theoretically, captive animals should be expected to live longer than their wild counterparts, considering advancements in animal husbandry, veterinary technology, and protection from predators. Even for the few individuals which appear to adapt, or produce second and third-generation births, their confinement simply cannot be justified morally, ethically, or rationally, due to the significantly reduced quality of life which captivity dictates.

Intelligence.. Dolphins and whales were once thought to possess almost "super-intelligence". Scientist Carl Sagan described these findings in 1973 (cited in Williams, 1988): "The brain size of whales is much larger than that of humans. Their cerebral cortexes are as convuluted. They are at least as social as humans. Anthropologists believe that the development of human intelligence has been critically dependent upon these three factors: brain volume, brain convolutions, and social interactions among individuals.


Here we find a class of animals where the three conditions leading to human intelligence may be exceeded, and in some cases, greatly exceeded." Voyager I and Voyager II, in their billion-year space journey, carried whale sounds as well as human sounds. Should contact be made with inhabitants of other civilisations, other universes, they will have these samples of earth sound to judge us by. The U.S. Navy, in particular, has spent millions in grants researching cetacean cognition and communication; other scientists continue similar endeavours. Today, we know better than to try to compare the intelligence of man with that of dolphins, since we have evolved in two very different environments. The concept of cetacean "intelligence" is gradually being eliminated from marine park rehetoric (Walsh, 1991). Louis Herman, who has conducted communication experiments of dolphins for decades has said that dolphin intelligence is on par with chimpanzees, the closest relative to man among animals (cited in Schroeder & Dezern, 1990). Some believe dolphin intelligence rates somewhere between dogs and apes on the intelligence scale. Kirtland (1995) commented: "We were attempting to deflate the argument that dolphins are highly intelligent animals and as such it is morally wrong to keep them in captivity. ...If, on the other hand, one can brainwash' a dolphin into preferring captivity simply by providing them with fish, then they are basically dumb animals' and should be viewed no differently than ..any other animal that is regularly kept in captivity". Today, the question of what animals know is inspiring a wealth of serious research and there's growing evidence, both from the lab and from the field, that they know a great deal. Even scientists who don't like to speculate about consciousness are parting with the old notion that animal behaviour consists entirely of reflexes. There is too much evidence that animals live by their wits (Cowley, 1988). The conceptional theory presented by Leahy is based on the belief that animals do not have language, and are not self-conscious; therefore they cannot make choices or raise objections. Jamieson rebutted Leahy's arguement, saying, "But even if it were agreed that the use of complex symbol systems is required for self-consciousness, it would appear that various primates and cetaceans satisfy this criterion and thus would be excluded from the scope of Leahy's conclusion (cited in Norton, et al, 1995). Author Jeffrey Masson (1995) described his experience researching animal emotions. "Looking for information about how trainers worked with the emotions of animals they used in shows, I approached the public relations director at Sea World in San Diego. He told me bluntly that he disapproved of the notion of animal emotions and would not permit Sea World to be associated with my research because it 'smacked of anthropomorphism.' I was, therefore, astonished to see shows there in which the killer whales and dolphins were trained to wave, shake hands, and splash water at the spectators. They had been trained to behave like people - more precisely, like people who had been bent and formed into amusing slaves in the service of commercial exploitation." Sea World's Otto Fad (1994) attempted to explain, "Portraying our animals in anthropomorphic terms provides fodder for animal rights extremists. For the most part, anthropomorphism is unscientific. Anytime we ascribe a more complicated explanation for a response or group of responses in the face of a simpler explanation


(like talking about motivation', instead of reinforcement histories, balance of reinforcement, stimulus generalisation, etc.), we are waxing anthropomorphic... Consider the difference between saying that a dolphin likes' a particular reinforcer versus the dolphin responds well' to it. The former describes the effectiveness of a reinforcer as a product of conscious thought, while the latter allows an explanation of an established reinforcement history with identical or similar stimuli." The hypocrisy of Sea World's position is revealed in its blatant encouragement of anthropomorphism through its promotion of 'caricatures', for example, using the same name for different animals. Whilst Sea World may be the most obvious example by using the registered trademark name Shamu, other marine parks have been equally guilty by using such familiar names as Flipper. This custom substitutes fictitious characters for authentic animals, deceiving the public as well as disgracing the animal, under the pretence of teaching respect. It is also a convenient technique to minimise the significance of deaths when they occur. Shortly following the 1991 death of one of Sea World's orcas in Texas, spokesman Dave Force said in a televised interview "Shamu has not died today. One of the whales who plays that role we lost this morning died, yes. But Shamu lives on" (Andrews, 1991). Sea World veterinarian Michael Walsh, addressing NMFS in 1991, indicated that "it is important to emphasise a very basic point. These individual animals are not numbers to us." Each of Sea World's performing animals have real names which they have been reluctant to divulge. Yet none are identified in federal records by name; instead, each is designated a coded identification number. What Sea World has effectively done with Shamu is to market the orca image, a sophisticated facade which serves to conceal the reality of confinement. Former AZA public relations director Karen Allen showed awareness of the issues involved when she commented: "Let us also re-evaluate the ethics of publicly naming animals, thus portraying them as individual personalities (emphasis added). This is not a problem if institution directors are willing to deal with public relations when well-loved animals are moved to another facility. It is unrealistic, however, to expect the public to turn its emotions on and off to suit the agenda of the zoological facility." (cited in Norton et al, 1995.) Researcher Roger Fouts commented on the naming of animals: "Why is it that animals may not have names? Are they not individuals as well? Too often this argument against naming an animal is nothing more than an attempt to deindividualise the animal. If that is achieved, then ethics and responsibility usually go out the window" (cited in Norton et al, 1995). Masson added, "In the end, when we wonder whether to ascribe an emotion to an animal, the question is not, 'Can we prove that another being feels this or any emotions?', but rather, Is there any reason to suppose that this species of animal does not feel this emotion?' " (emphasis in original). Examples of behaviour/emotions observed in cetaceans by scientists and trainers include: possessing culture; recognition; communication (vocalisations); loyality; compassion (rescuing others); co-operative hunting and problem solving; curiousity;


creativity; joy (play, teasing); fear (pain, distress, anxiety, depression); loneliness; grieving; aggression (anger, hostility, jealousy, sexual/rape). Scientist John Lilly, the once-controversial dolphin guru of the 1960's, has said that he no longer works with dolphins because he "didn't want to run a concentration camp for highly developed beings" (cited in Masson, 1995). Reflecting on the intelligence and emotions of cetaceans, one is reminded of Jeremy Bentham's quote, "The question is not, 'Can they reason?' nor, 'Can they talk?' but, 'Can they suffer?' "


SECTION 5 Refuting the myths.

The appreciation myth... "It is our experience that, when visitors are able to see and learn about cetaceans and other aquatic life in an aquarium, they gain a profound appreciation of protecting wild populations of these animals. As has been repeatedly proven, what they teach then translates into public action to protect the species and preserve the environment." (National Aquarium in Baltimore, 1989.) Response: Attitudes towards killer whales among the general public may have improved in the late 1960s, as the whales were beginning to be displayed by marine parks. Yet, at the same time, more people began questioning the confinement of these immense, intelligent and inquisitive creatures, and their relatives, the smaller dolphins. This coincided with the emergence of environmental movements. Today's public is far more sensitive to the confinement of orcas, but is also expressing a growing concern for the confinement of other dolphin species. No hard evidence is known to exist supporting the statement that public display translates into public action to protect species and preserve the environment, as is claimed by marine parks. While some facilities create opportunities for visitors to participate in beach clean-ups and other positive efforts, few can demonstrate direct examples translating into public action. Yet, tens of thousands of concerned people lined the shores in 1985 when Humphrey, the wayward humpback whale journeyed into the inland estuaries of the SacramentoSan Joaquin river delta for 24 days, before emerging to continue the migration. In 1988, millions of people around the world watched the televised dramatic efforts of international governments, volunteers and scientists who mobilised to save three grey whales which became trapped in Alaskan ice. Neither of these species have been maintained for public display purposes in North America. Similarly, zoos have maintained elephants and rhinos for many years, yet it was not through their exhibition, but rather through graphic media depictions that the public became outraged over poaching and habitat loss. Another analogy which completely contradicts the appreciation myth, (ie. that animals must be seen "up-close" in order to foster understanding of a species), is the increasing interest in dinosaurs! Children and scientists alike have expressed enormous interest in, and fascination with, these extinct species never seen by man. Dinosaur parks and festivals, featuring realistic, moving life-size models, are breathing new life into the tourism industry (Tomsho, 1994). A few marine parks have also experimented with similar attractions.

the Marine Mammal Protection Act... (or, little white lies?)


"Largely inspired by the observational and eduational opportunities presented by oceanaria, outrage by the American public and support by the zoological community led to the passage of the marine mammal protection Act in 1972." (Brian Joseph, Minnesota Zoological Garden, 1990) Response: Hardly any statement could be further from the truth! In fact, representatives from the captive display and scientific research communities, who vehemently opposed hearings leading up to the passage of the Marine Mammal Protection Act, were, ironically, later appointed to the Scientific Advisory Committee of the Marine Mammal Commission. In 1973, just after the Marine Mammal Protection Act was enacted into law, National Marine Fisheries Service approved, without holding a public hearing, an "economic hardship" permit. This permit allowed Sea World to capture about 80 marine mammmals to stock its new park in Orlando, Florida. The speed of the permit authorisation was largely due to to the efforts of Sea World's able lobbyist, George Steele. Steele also represented the American Tunaboat Association (Regenstein, 1975). To this day, representatives and lobbyists of the captive industry continue to assault, influence, and challenge further regulations effecting captive marine mammals.

The deception of education... "Zoological displays are the most effective means of acquainting and educating the greatest numbers of people about wildlife. Live animals hold a person's interest in a way not possible with static exhibits" (Brad Andrews, Sea World, 1991.) Response: The 1988 amendments to the U.S. MMPA required that public display permits were issued to those applicants which offered a programme for education or conservation purposes which, (based upon professionally recognised standards of the public display community), was acceptable to the Secretary of Commerce. Public law 103-238, amending the MMPA in 1994, eliminated approval by the Secretary, essentially allowing facilities to establish their own standards of "education". One such "standard" set forth by the Alliance of Marine Mammal Parks and Aquariums states that: "Education programmes about marine mammals must present information about these animals, their ecosystem, or marine wildlife conservation that is based upon the best current scientific knowledge" (emphasis added). The fact that marine parks dismiss scientific findings which disagree with industry agendas demonstrates clearly that marine parks do not present the "best current scientific knowledge" and therefore present misleading information to the public as fact. One clich often cited to defend the aquariums' mission of education is attributed to African environmentalist Baba Dioum: "In the end we will conserve only what we love, love only what we understand, and understand only what we are taught." Such a statement is shockingly blasphemous, considering what aquariums actually teach. If the public is taught so very little, does this mean that they have little understanding to compel them to conserve? Educational material offered by marine parks blatantly omits facts about a cetacean species' unique social structure, remarkable extended families, and natural tendencies to range freely over vast areas.


Most disturbing is the number of people mis-educated by marine parks. Of the millions of people who visit marine parks, many leave with a distorted perception of cetaceans and marine ecosystems in general. The largest marine parks employ a number of professional educators; however, the contents of educational materials are carefully chosen to support the marine park agenda. Marine parks have become increasingly dependent and creative in using euphemisms to avoid sensitive or negative connotations, in written materials and spoken commentary. Performing animal shows are often called "presentations" or "demonstrations". Captive animals are not captured, but "collected" or "acquired". Captives do not live in pools or tanks, but "controlled environments". Sexual encounters are referred to as "courtship behaviours". Captives have not evolved, but have "adapted" to confinement. They do not kill, but "eat" or "prey upon" other life forms. "Acclimatisation" is used to describe the period following capture, when captives must adjust to artificial diets and become accustomed to humans - beyond public view. These buzzwords serve to reduce living individuals to inanimate objects, as well as misleading the public. While marine parks may strive to educate, and some admittedly do so better than others, educational messages are often lost when presented through commentary accompanying show performances. The visitor often remembers the visual image more than the content of the commentary (Mullan & Marvin, 1987). Truly educational exhibits (photo-captioned display boards, audio/visual presentations, etc.) are more often secondary to animal performances and interactive exhibits. Memories at Shamu Stadium largely consist of "The Big Splash!" Marine parks also present mixed messages which confuse the public. Show formats and commentary change periodically. Sea World recently described orcas as "relentless predators with teeth designed for ripping and tearing, and a tremendous capacity for killing and eating." At the same time, the show emphasised a "close relationship" with trainers, portraying orcas as friendly and lovable. Clearly, the entertainment aspect of marine parks overwhelms that of education. Randy Brill (1992), of the Chicago Zoological Society commented, "of all our endeavours, the shows' reach the greatest number of people and provide the greatest portion of the revenues necessary to keep our facilities running. Dad and mom and the kids are not looking for a technical lecture on cetaceans. They are spending their money and want to be entertained" (emphasis added). How is it possible for marine parks to educate the public about the species maintained in captivity, based on a caricature vastly different from their wild counterparts? Dr. Kenneth Norris (1979) described the differences, "In captivity, usually two or more species are thrown together into unnatural assemblages that seldom or never exist in nature. Confinement compresses a porpoise's activity, no matter how large the tank. The difference is between forty to sixty miles (64-90 km) of daily travel and movement in a tank two hundred feet (60 m) in diameter. The difference is the chance to dive out of sight of the surface - perhaps to over a thousand feet (300 m) for some porpoises - versus perhaps twenty-five feet (7.6 m) in captivity. The difference is a limitless world where aggression and fear can re-order social structure within and between schools and a world where these forces are contained by cement walls. In captivity, shy porpoises can't move far away from aggressive ones. In fact,


confinement compresses natural activity so tightly that it may be distorted virtually beyond recognition (emphasis added). A 1989 study by Dr. Stephen Kellert of Yale University assessed public attitudes and knowledge gained in three zoos. Kellert quotes William Donaldson, president of the Zoological Society in Philadelphia: "The surveys we have conducted.... show that the overwhelming majority of our visitors leave us without increasing either their knowledge of the natural world or their empathy for it. There are even times when I wonder if we don't make things worse by reinforcing the idea that man is only an observer in nature and not a part of it." Kellert claimed that, "most visitors tend to regard these facilities as park-like settings for the experience of casual family entertainment largely distinct from the pursuit of increased knowledge of wildlife." The results would likely be similar had he interviewed the public in aquariums. Kellert's assessment of attitude changes in the public before and after a visit, indicated that little change took place. The study states that evidence of a more informed and appreciative public following the zoo visit is neither impressive nor reassuring. "We failed to observe any appreciable increase in either factual or conceptional knowledge of animals," and "the meagre understanding of visitors following the visit was among the disappointing results of the study." Jamieson commented on a 1981 study by Edward Ludwig on the Buffalo Zoo in New York, published in the International Journal for the Study of Animal Problems. The study revealed a surprising amount of dissatisfaction on the part of young, scientifically-inclined zoo employees. Much of the dissatisfaction stemmed from the almost complete indifference of the public towards the zoo's educational efforts. Ludwig's study indicated that most animals are viewed only briefly as people move quickly past cages. The typical zoo visitor stops only to watch baby animals or those who are begging, feeding, or making sounds. Ludwig reported that the most common expressions used to describe animals are cute', funny-looking', lazy', dirty', weird', or strange' (Jamieson, cited in Singer, 1985). The Vancouver Aquarium was the first to discontinue scheduled performances of their killer whales in 1991. The aquarium claimed to be moving away from "entertainment" shows, opting for a more "natural" format with less routine. Attendance levels fell and "visitors were disappointed or agitated that the whales had not performed to their expectations." (Wright and Kelsey, 1995). The "new" format, however, was born of necessity, as the female, Bjossa, increasingly chose to exert her dominance over the other whales and staff, dramatically altering public presentations. During a temporary period when trainers were prohibited from entering the water with Sea World's killer whales, following a series of trainer injuries, spectators said the most exciting part was when the trainers rode the whales (emphasis added); they felt that the "thrill" was now absent from the shows (Okerblom, 1987). Nicholas Brown (cited in Marshall, 1994) has said that the National Aquarium in Baltimore "peddles a mood of excitement; it is visual rather than cerebral" (emphasis added).


Zoos have rarely acknowledged public studies which actually measure the effect of zoo education programmes (Maple, McManamon & Stevens cited in Norton et al, 1995). What do children learn at marine parks? What information is retained? Certainly, children are influenced by their environment, in their homes or schools, as to what is and is not acceptable to society. The most obvious - and frightening - answer is that children learn at marine parks that it is acceptable to confine animals (in this case cetaceans), more for casual entertainment than for educational purposes. For the most part, children can't comprehend the difference between free-living and confined animals. They don't associate the animals they see with how they may have been captured, or how they really live in the wild. Children are often discouraged at home and in school to question what they are taught, and may be encouraged to accept the status quo. Another frightening aspect is the far-reaching capability of influencing public education. Sea World is already broadcasting Shamu TV into schools through cable television (Antrim, 1994). Serious concerns are raised over the potential that private enterprise may virtually control the educational system by the year 2010 (Gilbert, 1993). When it comes to advertising, Anheuser-Busch spares no expense. In February 1994, Busch Entertainment Corp. hired the prestigious William Morris Agency to help increase its presence in the entertainment industry. "Busch Entertainment Corp. will work with William Morris to build franchise programmes around the park's characters (for instance, Shamu); build awareness through publishing, home video, television specials and possibly film; and expand BEC's existing in-school educational programming" (Busch, 1994). A number of larger marine parks offer both "educational" programmes on site and "outreach" programmes to schools. Marine World Africa USA (1991) claimed: "A child will remember a great deal more about an animal that he can touch or see doing something exciting, than he will by reading about it in a book or seeing it in a film." Whilst we cannot possibly know the thoughts of all of the millions of children exposed to marine parks, there are a number of reports from teachers and children which counter Marine World's claims. Fifth-grade students, participating in a two-day course at Marine World, wrote about some of the things which they had learned. One student wrote, "I learned the dolphins move there (sic) tail sideways and sharks move there tail up and down." "Rudy" wrote, "This was different than other trips for Marine World because the animal's are locked up safer than last time I went." Another student wrote, "I also learned a dolphin's back fin goes up and down. And other mammal's fin goes side to side." "Matthew" wrote, "This was different from my other trips to Marine World because Marine World is different from Great America. they both are very fun to go to. But I like Great America better because it has fun rides." (Marine World Africa USA, 1991). The writings of these children reflect the confused nature of the 'education' provided by marine parks. By contrast, classroom studies of whales and dolphins, independent of any marine park influence, often produced work of an extremely high calibre. For example, one fifth-grade teacher in California conducted a cross-curriculum study of oceans, including invertebrates, fish and mammals. In co-operative learning groups, students


constructed scale models of orca members of the K pod. The final assignment combined lessons in creativity, biology, language skills, mathematics (metric conversions and scale drawings), art and using computers to compile illustrated stories based on facts on species of the students choosing (Barkley, 1995, unpublished). "Greg" wrote about orcas, classifying orders, families, genus and species, distinguishing between residents and transients, described echolocation, identification (by dorsal fins and saddle patches), dialects, behaviour (lob-tailing, pec-slapping, breaching and spy-hopping), and family bonding. "Alex" described the differences between short-finned and long-finned pilot whales, illustrating their diving abilities to feed on squid. He wrote, "You can start to do things for whales, not just pilot whales but all whales. You can protest so that they can't catch whales and put them in tanks and train them to do tricks for entertainment. People should stop hunting whales to make things like oil, soap, and lipstick." "Peter" wrote about blue whales, describing mammalian characteristics, size ("bigger than a brontasaurus"), baleen, and migration. "Ashley" chose orcas, pretending to be part of a capture operation, and taking a job at a marine park to be close to the orcas she loved. Her story reflected her imaginary guilt and experience as a trainer. "We're supposed to tell people that orcas live to be 25 years. However, in the wild they can live to be 80. In the wild the dorsal fins are not bent but at Sea World they are bent because they have to swim in the same direction all the time and close to the surface. Just goes to show you. Don't believe everything you hear." Ashley's story contained one of the most inspiring messages a child can learn in today's challenging society, where citizens often remain passive and reluctant to initiate change: "Goes to show you, one person can make a difference." Another Californian teacher felt that students regarded zoo and aquarium field trips as recreational outings, rather than an educational outings. She felt marine parks had little tangible educational value and could actually have a negative impact on some children. "For students who have developed admiration and compassion for whales, seeing them confined to a tank or performing tricks to entertain a crowd often leaves such children with feelings of deep sorrow. An aquarium show cannot be transformed into a sound educational experience simply by interspersing natural history trivia among the back flips, synchronised leaps and other entertaining' feats commonly performed by the animals" (Getty, 1991). A teacher from Pennsylvania questioned the educational value of public display, "when feelings of anxiety for the animals are the result of observing them in captivity, rather than feelings of respect and wonder for the animals." One student had said keeping animals in captivity was horrible, "It's like being grounded for the rest of your life." Another child who had recently visited Sea World said, "those whales didn't do anything to people. It's not fair." The teacher summarised, "They [children] are not developing a responsible attitude which will lead them to act in ways to preserve the natural habitats of the animals... The children are merely spectators and they are helpless ones, at that" (Stalker, 1991). A New York science teacher relayed her experience of accompanying some students on a whalewatching trip, after studying cetaceans in the classroom. She described how the students' excitement level peaked when observing free-living fin whales, humpback whales and dolphins. In contrast, the students also visited the New England


Aquarium. "The students did not get so excited; rather, they became enraged at the indignity that was imposed on these animals, and they showered me with questions concerning the health of the animals and the necessity of having them in captivity" (Pregnall, 1991). Sixth-grade students of Henderson Elementary School in Vancouver received an immediate "education" after witnessing the third failed birth of the orca, Bjossa, at the Vancouver Aquarium in March 1995. They experienced first-hand the miracle of birth and tragedy of death as innocent spectators. Their distress revealed a profound testimony of reality and self-awareness by the feelings they shared. "Kiran" pleaded, "Who do we think we are? I'm mad that the government won't listen, especially to kids. There's one thing that I don't understand, if us land mammals can have our freedom, why can't water mammals?" (Dahaliwal, 1995). "Monique" wrote, "Keeping whales in tanks is wrong for many reasons, but I'll name only one. They didn't do anything to deserve being caught, taken from their families, and put in a tank that takes away their right to freedom" (Neufeld, 1995). Jean-Michel Cousteau (1993) also questioned the educational value of marine parks: "The ideals of education do not abide easily in a culture of marine entertainment. Uneasy facts of life always must be subsumed in cheery show-biz gloss. If marine parks were truly educational, they would not need to rely on circumlocution to make their practices palatable to the public. When even hotels and restaurants can obtain permits to display dolphins, education and science become mere distortions designed to make us feel comfortable with what are actually lucrative commercial ventures circuses of the sea."

The hypocrisy of conservation.. "Conservation is a major reason for our industry's existence and a primary concept to convey to the public. But do we practice what we preach?" (Nadia Hecker, National Aquarium in Baltimore, 1991) Response: No genuine conservation organisation will deny the fact that conservation in the wild must take precedence over all other programmes. Lindberg and Lindberg have stated, "In a more perfect world, it is argued, conservation resources could be devoted wholly to preserving wild habitat" (cited in Norton et al, 1995). Many conservationists, including those who work at modern zoos and aquariums, agree that habitat preservation should be their highest priority (Hutchins et al, cited in Norton et al 1995). Zoos, therefore, ought to devote more attention to preserving whole, intact ecosystems. Philosopher and author Dale Jamieson commented: "The truth is that very few zoos make meaningful attempts to preserve animals in nature, and most zoos spend more on publicity and public relations than they do on programmes involving animals. ...Our feeble attempts at preservation are a matter of our own interests, values, and preoccupations rather than acts of generosity toward those animals we destroy and then try to save" (cited in Norton et al, 1995).


Zoo biologists frequently cite captive breeding, particularly of endangered species, as a significant contribution toward wildlife conservation; such programmes are highly dramatic and make good press. Captive breeding is often cited as an important component of conservation but, according to the World Conservation Union Species Survival Commission, without a companion programme of reintroduction, such programmes have little value toward genuine conservation. The idea of releasing captive-bred animals to re-populate an area of their original range has become a key strategy for saving endangered species. Ben Beck, national director of biological programmes at the National Zoological Park in Washington, D.C. and deputy chair of the IUCN Species Survival Commission Reintroduction Specialist Group, labels a project "successful" if it creates a self-sustaining population of at least 500 animals (cited in Sunquist, 1993). However, captive breeding of species which are not threatened or endangered has limited value in the sense of conservation. Although some species may be saved through captive propagation, it is patently dishonest for marine parks to claim a major role in conservation through captive breeding. Furthermore, zoos are having only measured success in convincing the public that they are truly contributing to the effort to save some wild species from extinction (Lindberg & Lindberg, cited in Norton et al, 1995). Additionally, according to Loftin (cited in Norton et al, 1995), "Captive breeding shifts resources away from field studies to lab work. While captive breeding may produce greater numbers of individuals, the knowledge of how the species fits into its environmental niche goes begging." Jamieson (cited in Norton et al, 1995) further added: "Increasingly, zoos have attempted to position themselves as the guardians of wild nature, as the boy with his thumb in the dike trying to hold back the floodwaters. Establishing genetic warehouses is not the same as preserving wild nature. Highly managed theme parks are not wild nature...If zoo breeding programmes are successful, they will not preserve species, but rather transform animals into exhibits in living museums. ... But as more and more animals are taken out of the wild, the case for preserving wild nature erodes. Why save a habitat if there is nothing to inhabit it?" Indeed, zoos and aquariums often defeat the purposes of conservation by favouring exotic or popular species which draw crowds and publicity, while undermining the concept of protecting the species and habitat. Historically, zoos and aquariums have placed far too great an emphasis upon species which possess exhibition value, over and above their inherent zoological interest. These are usually mammals which are highly active and which engage either with their trainers, the public, or other animals within the enclosure. Rarity is not necessarily an important contributory factor to exhibition value, the importance being more what animals do than what they are. These "flagship" species appeal to our more emotional human instincts: gorillas are "like us"; pandas are cuddly; sharks instill fear and curiosity (Marshall, 1994). Baby animals also entice a naive public, largely unaware of problems created by surplus animals. Significantly, Duffield and Darey Shell (1994) remarked that, for cetacean species (other than the bottlenose dolphin), "captive breeding of more and more of these


species will be increasingly essential, if these species are to survive." Their logic suggests that species survival applies only to captive animals, since (with the exception of a river dolphin, which was held at Wuhan, China) no cetacean species which is designated threatened or endangered is currently maintained in captivity. The "conservation rationale" gives credibility to the frivolous excuse to continue breeding for the purpose of stocking marine parks, rather than for any genuine conservation purposes. Species likely to be seen at marine parks - considered "old faithfuls" in popularity - include dolphins, sea lions, sharks, penguins and flamingos (Marshall, 1994). Controversy still rages, both within and outside the zoological establishment, as to the desirability of maintaining high-profile species such as giant pandas, white tigers, elephants, and orcas. Author George Schaller (1993), commented on the constant conflict of conservation versus media hype and crude profit in zoos today. He criticised priorities such as "vying for status, publicity and profit." Hancocks added, "The selection criteria for zoo collections, with their emphasis on the bigger, the cuter, and the more spectacular, result in a skewed and narrow view of the animal kingdom" (cited in Norton et al, 1995). According to interpretation directors at the Vancouver Aquarium, "Despite an overwhelming commitment from the zoo and aquarium community towards conservation education, little is actually happening, at least that people can quantify in a scientific manner" (Wright & Kelsey, 1990). Asked what political action Sea World has taken to promote conservation, Brad Andrews said, "We provide scientific input to government agencies. We prefer to work within the existing framework." More visible efforts, he says, "could be misunderstood" (cited in Riley, 1993). Unfortunately, there isn't much that is amusing about the issue of saving whales and their ocean environment. Humanity's eternal quest to subdue nature to our own purposes with the application of ever-more sophisticated and often violently disruptive technology, is now in a position to do the same sort of irreparable damage to entire oceans that we are doing to entire rainforests. In a draft paper by Dr. John Lein, Memorial University of Newfoundland, entitled Education Programmes About Whales (1988), Lein pointed out that to "manage whales" in order to conserve these animals, meant one had to manage the human impact on whales and their environment. He stated, "Less frequently do we realise that what we really need to understand is more about controlling humans." If marine parks had truly played an educational role in "conservation," the goal that: "the incidental kill or incidental serious injury of marine mammals permitted in the course of commercial fishing operations be reduced to insignificant levels approaching a zero mortality" might have been accomplished, as set forth in the 1972 Marine Mammal Protection Act. The inescapable conclusion drawn when comparing "conservation"-oriented messages with actual action (or lack thereof), is that public display facilities certainly do not practice what they preach, unless such actions are in their economic or public relations interest.


Indeed, zoos and aquariums frequently present mixed messages to the public whenever their actions contrast sharply with their professed philosophical ideals. Chicago's John G. Shedd Aquarium claims that the need to enhance public understanding and appreciation of the aquatic world becomes increasingly important, as more of the world's waters become polluted, more habitat is lost and more species become endangered. Yet, paradoxically, Shedd exhibits Pacific white-sided dolphins and beluga whales, whilst at the same time investing in the Monsanto Company (Shedd, 1991). Monsanto is one of the fifty worst polluters in Canada. The company operates on the shores of the St. Lawrence River - where belugas are dying at an alarming rate from chemicals like Myrax, PCBs and DDT. Canadian law requires a permit to transport any waste containing more than 50 parts per million (ppm) of PCB's. The Gulf of St. Lawrence belugas may carry as much as 3,200 ppm of these chemicals and are thus required to be treated as toxic waste. After it was publicised that Sea World faced fines for dumping waste water in San Diego's Mission Bay, violating toxicity levels sometimes as much as 700%, Sea World made a feeble attempt at blaming excessive coliform and chlorine on unwanted waterfowl (Frammolino, 1988). Sea World claimed it had never attempted to bar the "feathered intruders" from its grounds, and would not do so because of its conservation orientation, and because the birds were popular with visitors (cited in Richmond, 1988). However, following the published statement, a former employee described witnessing hundreds of waterfowl shot routinely during her employment in 1985. Equally disturbing is the realisation that no species is beyond the grasp of marine parks. In 1969, a month-old narwhal was captured in Canada for the New York Aquarium. It died less than month following its arrival (McRae, 1987). A year later, six narwhals were captured for the Vancouver Aquarium. The three calves died within two weeks, the three adults died within four months (Hillinger, 1972). In 1987, Debra Cavanagh, research associate with the Vancouver Aquarium predicted that, "In the next three to five years, there will be one in captivity. Everyone has a plan up their sleeve. The Japanese are especially interested. But we feel we can and should be the first to display them" (McRae, 1987). A letter from Canada's Fisheries and Oceans confirmed that Sea World was issued a scientific permit by the Canadian government in 1987, allowing experimental live-capture, temporary holding, observation of acclimatisation, and release of narwhal. Several were captured and released in the arctic area of Baffin Island (Goodman, 1988). Experimenting with near-mythical creatures for future exhibition appears outrageously comparable to entrepreneur P.T. Barnum himself.

The delusion of research... "Research plays a major role in public aquariums. Because oceanariums are among the few places where marine mammals can be closely observed, their research is the source for much of the scientific knowledge on dolphins currently available." (Marinelife Oceanarium, Mississippi, undated). Response: Research is largely conducted at marine parks in order to improve animal husbandry and veterinary knowledge. In the captive setting, research has undoubtedly


yielded some important findings on marine mammal physiology, energetics, body growth, genetics and reproduction. However, these research findings have been motivated more from necessity than science: the necessity of keeping captives alive. Many of the intensive field studies commissioned by marine parks to determine population abundance and distribution were carried out by professional, reputable scientists; yet the results were often used to support the requirements of permit applications, or had some other commercial motive. Veterinary findings have provided additional knowledge, but cannot strictly be classed as scientific research. Frank Awbrey (1991) of Hubbs Sea World Research Institute described the types of research conducted at Hubbs, "Much of our effort has been directed toward basic questions of distribution and abundance of cetaceans around the world. With support from NSF [National Science Foundation], NMFS, Sea World and other sources, we have evaluated population status and assessed stocks of killer whales and other cetaceans in places from the Arctic to the Antarctic." Sea World biologist Dan Odell (1991) also described research conducted at Sea World, "The first type of research we do is basic research (emphasis added). This research emphasises life history and husbandry parameters. It is conducted on most of the animals in the Sea World collection. Information gathered through basic research on our animals is important for animal husbandry purposes." Odell stressed the captive breeding of orcas, citing gestation, nursing patterns and weaning behaviour, calf growth and vocalisations. He added, "Each year, Sea World parks receive 50 to 70 individual research proposals, mostly from marine scientists outside Sea World. About 80% of these proposals are accepted." Sea World's Otto Fad (1994) appeared more forthright in his description. "Most of us engage in little pure science - we function to bridge the gap between science and lay people in one very specific area. Obviously, it behooves us to be familiar with the language of both the ethologist and the zoogoer". One example often credited to marine parks is the "discovery" of echolocation. This phenomenon was first speculated from observational studies of free-living populations, and later confirmed in controlled settings, mainly through obstacle avoidance studies. The majority of captive research findings - on acoustics, physiology, cognition, and hearing - were not conducted at marine parks, but by the U.S. Navy, the Air Force, university laboratories, government agencies and independent scientists. According to the Marine Mammal Commission (1995), "Much of what we know about the distribution, morphology and anatomy of marine mammals has been derived from studies of dead stranded animals. Additionally, much of what we know about the physiology, diseases, and the care and maintenance of marine mammals has been derived from efforts to rescue and rehabilitate livestranded animals." Norris (1991) cited that "it has taken both captive and wild work to build an understanding of the whole animal as it lives out its life. Neither viewpoint alone has provided anything near a balanced view." Yet, Norris (1991) also recognised the limitations of research conducted on captives during the early era of aquariums. Observations of the dolphins at Marineland, Florida made it clear that whole societies of mammals were out there in the sea, and understanding of sounds alone would never


reveal more than a single facet of their lives. Further, it was clear that only certain intimate things about dolphin lives could be learned from captive individuals. Animals confined in pools, even big ones, obviously were not able to carry out all of their normal life patterns. The outward face of dolphins, the ways they deal with their larger world, necessarily exists only as a hint in captive animals." Dr. Louis Herman (1994), who has studied dolphin cognition and communication at Hawaii's Kewalo Basin Marine Mammal Laboratory, has described his research from the perspective of trying to find out what dolphins can do under conditions that are completely alien to their natural lives, rather than studying dolphins in their natural environment. However, any conclusions drawn under these conditions would appear to be applicable only to his research subjects and similar captives, and therefore of limited value. Marine World Africa USA (1991) defended the confinement of orcas by stating: "It is vital that a handful of these animals be in captivity so that we can learn about them, physiologically and behaviourally." While a handful is not exactly descriptive, how many animals are considered adequate and how much more we can learn from studying captives, is certainly debatable. According to Shane (et al, 1986), "Since 1940, studies of social behaviour at a number of oceanaria have provided relatively consistent results" (emphasis added), implying that much research carried out merely duplicates previous work. "Too often, an experiment will be designed in such a manner that the organism being studied can answer only the question posed by the investigator or, essentially, nothing else at all. In such cases, we are finding out more about the mental capacity of the experimenters than we are about the animals they claim to be studying. At the very worst the experimenter sets up the experiment so that the animal can only prove a pet theory" (Fouts, cited in Norton et al, 1995). Indianapolis Zoo director Roy Shea (cited in Marshall, 1994) criticised the AAZPA for not focusing on areas of productive research. "Neither the AAZPA nor anyone else has a research agenda, and research is undertaken at the whim of individuals" (emphasis added). "We try to marry scientific curiousity with proposals that will lead to tangible results" claimed Shedd Aquarium veterinarian, Jeffery Boehm (cited in Ritter, 1994). But at what point does research become duplicative, repetitive and frivolous? The bonanza available for funding applied environmental science may also contribute to the lucrative 'publish or perish' mentality. One research project entitled Perspectives on Acoustic Conditions in the Oceanarium Environment is described as a study of the development of the stereotyped call repertoire of the killer whale calves born at Sea World (Bowles, 1991): "The Sea World system offers a unique setting for studying the stereotyped repertoire or `dialect' of killer whales.... We know that calves develop their first adult-like pulsed calls at 3-8 months of age, their first stereotyped calls at 6-12 months, and that they develop their repertoire by imitating their closest associates. This is not information that has been available from the wild, despite the 20 years of study invested in the Puget Sound/British Columbia area. We still have not answered many of the most


interesting questions about the system of dialects.... The answers to these questions will tell us whether there are really lineages' of killer whales determined by acoustic relatedness and may help to explain why killer whale societies have characteristic dialects' when those of other non-human mammals do not (Bowles, 1991). Considering Sea World's frequent transfer of orcas and the mixed parentage of captive-born offspring, this research appears insignificant, particularly when attempting to apply such findings to free-living orcas of the Pacific Northwest, which have never been exposed to the dialects of Icelandic orcas. The study appears more to question the dialect's proven relationship to family lineages. In fact, John Ford's definitive studies of orca vocalisations, beginning in 1978, established the existence of dialects. What earlier researchers recording orca sounds believed to be true, Ford was able to quantify (Hoyt, 1990). In the unlikely event that marine park researchers are successful in convincing others that dialects are not related to family lineages, an attempt could be made to use those findings to discredit the close family kinships of orca societies already accepted by marine scientists. In other words, this argument could provide a false rationalization to further justify captivity, based upon distorted findings. Other research, such as the study of natural behaviour - social behaviour, hunting and feeding, foraging, and other crucial aspects of a cetacean group's daily life - is difficult or impossible to pursue in marine parks. Admittedly, field research and observational studies are painstakingly slow and expensive. Yet, few can dispute the value and results of these scientific findings. Pioneering work on orca photoidentification by Michael Bigg, on chimpanzees by Jane Goodall, and on mountain gorillas by Dian Fossey, could never have been accomplished in captive settings. Overall, far more data on natural history has been published from benign, observational studies of wild populations than from studies of captives.

The sham of captive breeding programmes... "Biologists consider reproduction to be the primary indication of whether an animal is healthy and well-adapted to its surroundings. We consider breeding to be successful only if the offspring survive and thrive." (Jim McBain, Sea World, 1991) Response: Reproduction is a natural instinct, an irrelevant indicator of health and adaption. Many species are capable of controlling their own numbers, based on available food and water sources, suitable habitat, and sometimes social hierarchy provided that the natural balance is not affected by habitat, pollution, and wildlife management policies such as predator control. Captive species, whose basic needs are met, have little choice in reproductive matters. They are encouraged to breed, regardless of age, and are frequently impregnated soon after introduction to new animals. Male orcas are seldom used in shows and are often isolated from females, except when breeding is desired. Male dolphins are often confined with expecting females - a situation which would not naturally occur in wild populations. Captives may also be subjected to experimental procedures, such as


manipulation of estrus cycles, induced ovulation, semen collection and artificial insemination (Schroeder, 1990). Marine World Africa USA admits to using artificial insemination in dolphins (Flozenlogen, 1993). The Miami Seaquarium is experimenting with artificial insemination with their male Pacific white-sided dolphin, in a "co-operative project" with the Shedd Aquarium and Sea World, Texas (Tarule & Losch, 1995).

Sexual maturity... Pete Schroeder (1990), who has conducted comprehensive research on captive breeding for the U.S. Navy cautioned: "It is important to remember the difference between sexual maturity and reproductive maturity when planning to breed a captive dolphin. Reproductive maturity occurs when the female dolphin has regular cycles, and has reached her adult size. Pregnancy of an adolescent dolphin, as with other mammals, can result in difficult births and stillborn calves, in addition to compromising the normal maturation processes of the young female. Female bottlenose dolphins reach reproductive maturity within 7 to 10 years." Sea World's 1993 "educational" booklet, Killer Whales, states that: "Studies of killer whales in marine zoological parks suggest that females become sexually mature when they reach about 15 to 16 ft. (4.6 to 4.9 m), at about 6 to 10 years" (emphasis added). However, previous editions stated that, "The most recent evidence suggests that females become sexually mature when they reach 15 to 16 ft. (4.6 to 4.9 m), at about 8 to 10 years" (emphasis added). The difference in sexual maturity between the two versions imply that "facts" are modified to fit the marine park agenda. Observational studies in the Pacific Northwest suggest that most female orcas probably give birth for the first time at age 14 to 15 years. The youngest female seen with a calf was 11 years of age (Ford et al, 1994). Sea World has suggested that dolphins reach sexual maturity between 3 to 8 years of age (Sea World, 1989), differing considerably from Schroeder's estimate (7-10 years) and Geraci's estimate at between 10 to 12 years (1986). Captive breeding often disregards the natural rules governing pregnancy in the wild, where first pregnancy is related not only to age but also to social maturity. Additionally, Sea World has also claimed that their breeding success for killer whales is better than that in the wild (Andrews, 1991). It is ironic that Sea World claims a better first-year survival rate than those born in the wild, based on the research paper written by Olesiuk et al (1990) - yet dismisses the section in the same paper which cites higher life expectancy amongst free-living orcas!

Birthing behaviour and dolphin "aunties".. In 1991, Sea World was eager to gain authorisation to import the Sealand orcas, (one of which had recently given birth, the other approaching impending). Sea World veterinarian Jim McBain wrote in the permit application (1991): "The main problem posed by females to a birthing whale is the stealing of calves, which has been observed numerous times with dolphins and has been experienced with killer whales. Because of the potential problem, Sea World routinely separates the birthing female


from the other whales during the birthing and bonding process. The theft of calves by nonpartutient females has been experienced with dolphins as well as killer whales. These episodes are most likely if the birthing female is subordinate to the non-birthing female." No evidence is known to support this statement. On the contrary, orcas and dolphins have been known to co-operate with other females when births occur. Scientists have studied the "auntie" relationship among captive dolphins, where an individual dolphin, often a female relation, aids the birthing female, acting as a midwife and pushing the newborn to the surface for its first breath. In wild orca populations, females observe the calving of others, and frequently participate in "babysitting". Amongst orcas, the cow-calf bond is the strongest; however all pod members occasionally accompany the young. Like dolphins, orca calves are nudged to the surface at birth. But with orcas, the "aunties" aren't always females. Smaller male orcas have been observed bringing newborns to the surface and supporting them on their backs (Hoyt, 1990). At Marineland, in 1977 and 1979, Corky's first two calves were assisted to the surface by Orky, the father. This behaviour has also been observed with short-finned pilot whales (Heimlich-Boran, 1992). Wells (1990) noted that "most calves are raised in groups composed of their mothers and other females with their most recent offspring.... Growing up within a stable social unit such as a band, as opposed to a lone mother-calf pair, may provide a number of advantages to the calf", including increased protection and opportunities to learn by observation. Schroeder (1990) added, "Although not scientifically proven, it is our clinical impression that observation of birthing and nursing processes helps the first-time mothers to tend their calves better." Breese (1990) described the pregnancy of a young Pseudorca/Tursiops hybrid at Sea Life Park. "Staff were, of course concerned that a five year-old mother might have some problems caring for a calf and hoped that, by putting her in with her mother, who was nursing a calf, she might learn some of the ropes' of motherhood.... Although Kekaimalu appeared to be quite confused immediately after birth, she picked the calf up' within several minutes and began swimming with it. She was attentive and tried to keep the calf away from the pool walls." Lacave (1990) reported a case in captivity where "a female had difficulty with her delivery and was in labour for some time when another dolphin (a so-called auntie) helped her. She took the tail fluke in her rostrum and pulled the calf out of the mother. This dolphin is alive today and still has a mark on his tail fluke and is already the father of other calves." The Dolphin Research Center purposely placed the pregnant dolphin, Cindy, with an experienced mother, Aphrodite, and experienced mid-wife, Josephine (Tarule, 1994). While the separation of males from birthing females more closely resembles nature, the separation of birthing females from other females differs greatly from that observed in nature. After the Vancouver Aquarium experienced its third unsuccessful orca birth in 1995, it announced that it would separate its bonded orca pair to prevent future pregnancies by trading its male with another facility for a female. Bjossa and Finna had lived together for 15 years at the aquarium. Following months of public criticism and negative publicity, the aquarium admitted that the female had been receiving


experimental contraceptives, and announced their decision not to separate the pair, citing that attempts to acquire a non-breeding female had been unsuccessful. Yet efforts were renewed to obtain a companion for Bjossa immediately following Finnas death in 1997.

Separating mother and calf... Female orcas are routinely transported to other parks to be impregnated by mature males, and transported again, as late as the ninth month of a 17-month gestation period. At least five orcas became pregnant within three months of being introduced to new social groups, providing little time to become established in existing hierarchies. Ten juvenile orcas have been separated from their mothers between the ages of 8 months and 4 yrs 5 mos! In the wild, mother/calf pairs in resident communities of orcas in British Columbia/Washington State have been observed to remain in close proximity with their maternal intra-pods throughout their lives (Olesiuk et al, 1990; Bigg et al, 1990; Ford et al, 1994). Even those within the marine park industry have acknowledged what Sea World adamantly denies. John Ford, research associate with the Vancouver Aquarium has made extensive studies of kinship among orcas. He found that that "within this unique social structure, calves never leave their mothers, and a pod's adult males are not the breeding bulls, but older sons" (cited in Atkinson, 1990). In a 1991 letter to BBC Wildlife magazine, Brad Andrews of Sea World claimed that "killer whales are thriving in captivity", and that "our breeding programme has been tremendously successful." He added, "However, the statements about moves and premature separation of mother and child are false" (emphasis added). The first successful captive orca birth occurred at Sea World, Florida in 1985, about 20 years after the species was first brought into captivity. Baby Shamu - or Kalina was separated from her mother aged 4 years, 5 months, to begin a whirlwind journey where she appeared at all four parks within a period of less than 16 months. She became impregnated in Texas within four months of arrival, aged just six years. In February 1993, Kalina gave birth to the first second-generation captive-born orca; touted by Sea World as Grandbaby Shamu, also known as Keet. Eleven months following the birth, Kalina was impregnated again in January 1994, and abruptly transferred to Florida during the ninth month of pregnancy, leaving behind Keet, her calf, aged one year 8 months. On June 17, 1995 Kalina gave birth to a second calf, just hours after completing a performance at Shamu Stadium. In November 1995, a Virginia tourist wrote a letter to an animal welfare organisation. She described her observations of the young orca (Keet) she had seen at San Antonio on October 9, 1995. "I saw a young killer whale swimming in distress. The person [employee] said he was born in 1993 - mid year and his mother was recently sent to Florida - why I don't know - leaving him alone at less than two years. He had scrapes all over his body and was hitting the sidewalls (underlining in original). Can you help? There is no reason for them to be separated. He's just a baby" (Hooper, personal communication).


Sea World's 1993 handout, The Facts about Sea World's Killer Whales, states, "The birth of a killer whale calf at Sea World is far from an accidental occurrence." It would appear then, that these are planned pregnancies. Yet, breeding juveniles, transporting pregnant orcas and the forced separation of mother/calf pairs is neither similar to natural behaviour, nor does it follow the advice of industry-related veterinarians! Marine mammal veterinarian Jay Sweeney (1990) has written extensively on separating mother/calf pairs: "Attempts at removing a juvenile cetacean under 2 years of age from its mother frequently results in significant stress to the juvenile. By this time, such a youngster is eating a full portion of fish and relating behaviourally to the social group, but remains emotionally dependent upon its mother. When removed prior to two years, the juvenile, especially a male, has difficulty coping with alternative environments and integrating into new social groups. The stressed individual frequently exhibits stereotypic swimming patterns, consumes food irregularly, and regresses behaviourally in attempting to form infantile bonding with unrelated adults in the new environment. It is advisable to wait 2.5 years or longer before initiating any separation of mother/calf cetacean pairs." In 1987, the Dolphin Research Center (DRC) experienced the tragic death of a captive-born male Tursiops, aged just two years, four months. According to DRC (Calero, 1988), Hailey was believed to have had an "over-protective, domineering mother" keeping him in an "abnormally dependent state". At just over two years of age, he was placed with another youngster and its mother. Two months later, Hailey was found dead in the pool. DRC's report to NMFS noted that a nine-year-old adolescent male broke through several fence barriers and got into Hailey's pool. Although "rough & tumble play" was observed between the two animals for three days, Hailey's distressed condition was not recognised until he swam erratically, and bumped into objects and walls of the pool. The necropsy report described "approximately 300 14 to 20 cm (5.5 to 7.8 inch) lacerations/punctures over entire body (underlining in original) - most severe on dorsal back and genital areas, with bruising of blubber, necrotic tissue protruded from several puncture wounds." Preliminary cause of death is described as "multiple lacerations, severe contusions, blindness and disorientation, internal bleeding, shock and general severe tissue trauma (Brown, 1987). There is reason to believe similar incidents have occurred; however, most facilities are not as candid in their reporting, and most necropsy reports suppress details implicating other animals as a contributing to the cause of death.

Calf mortalities.. Sea World, which has the largest facilities and greatest resources, has, predictably, enjoyed the most success with breeding captive orcas. Yet, because U.S. facilities were not required to report stillbirths or infant mortalities until 1994, and remain reluctant to do so, the public may not realise that Sea World's eight surviving captiveborn orcas born at their parks were the result of many more known pregnancies which were not reported. Additionally, there have been several deaths of pregnant


females, and females dying shortly after stillbirths. Sea World argues that infant ("neonate") mortalities need not be reported, although its Marine Mammal Inventory Report reveals eight captive-born dolphin deaths under one month of age, including two deaths attributed to "neonate". Olesiuk (et al, 1990) defined "neonate mortality" as that which occurred between birth and six months, including stillbirths. Whilst the mortality rate of newborns in many cetacean species is believed high, especially for first time mothers, the mortality rate of captive adult female orcas, prior to or during delivery, is exceptionally uncommon in wild populations. Sea World has clearly misrepresented the breeding successes which they so frequently proclaim. Captive breeding cannot be accurately assessed unless facilities are required to report all stillbirths and infant mortalities. Citing the survivors of captive breeding programmes, without considering the failures, is highly distorted and therefore misleading. The psychological effects of failed births on mothers is unknown. Neylan Vedros (1986) of the Shedd Aquarium commented, "The current research on the relationship of stress (the bereavement syndrome) in humans can easily be applied to cetaceans." Unsuccessful births have sometimes been dealt with in an inconsistent manner. Pt. Defiance's beluga whale Mauyak lost her second calf on July 15, 1994. Staff immediately removed the body, whilst the mother repeatedly circled the 50 ft. pool, apparently searching for the calf. Asked why the mother was not allowed to see the calf, staff biologist Kathy Sdao said, "She would have held on to it for days. I have personally pried a dead calf from its mother. There is nothing more heartbreaking than that - to allow it to form a bond and then tear it away" (cited in Carson, 1994). Yet, when Vancouver Aquarium's female orca Bjossa experienced her third failed birth on March 8, 1995, the carcass remained in the pool while the mother continued lingering near the body, struggling to lift it to the surface. Aquarium staff claimed it was waiting for the mother to finish grieving, but it became all too evident that staff were reluctant to enter the water. Veterinarian David Huff said "to jump into that pool with the mother and baby in it, would basically be committing suicide" (cited in Bermingham, 1995). The dead calf was not removed for five days, after the mother had refused to eat. While animals experience the same losses in nature, they are not subjected to hundreds of gawking spectators, besides being monitored by live television - they also reserve the choice as to when to abandon a lost calf.

Hybrids... Questionable husbandry practices arise when marine parks maintain different species or subspecies together, where breeding is likely to produce hybrids. Geneticists consider hybridized species "mutants": considered less hardy, with a greater potential of experiencing birth defects, higher mortality rates, reproductive problems and increased susceptibility to disease. Sundance, a seven-year-old captive-born Atlantic/Pacific bottlenose dolphin hybrid, died at Sea World from injuries sustained after a collision inflicted by another animal, immediately following Sundance's transport from Marineland and placement in a Sea World tank (Cornell, 1987). Sea World was warned by Marineland staff that this


particular animal was subdominant and should not be placed with other male dolphins. There appears to be a general agreement that there is one species of Tursiops worldwide, separated into geographical races (Shane et al, 1986). Kirtland (1993), cites some 12 recognised geographical variations or subspecies. This is of particular concern with foreign facilities, which may hold dolphins originating from waters off North America, Mexico, Cuba, Guatemala, Taiwan, as well as various countries of the former Soviet Union. The captive breeding of orcas is similarly controversial, producing offspring of mixed Pacific and Atlantic parentage.

Inbreeding... Geneticist Roger Vrijenhoek cautioned that loss of diversity within populations can have immediate deleterious consequences. "Inbreeding is commonly manifested in zoo populations...not only is avoidance of inbreeding good for the group, it is also for the good of the individual. Inbred progeny typically suffer from slow growth, decreased fertility, poor survival and increased developmental problems." (cited in Norton et al, 1995). There has been speculation of possible inbreeding, such as the six failed births experienced by the orca Corky at Marineland. Both she and her mate, Orky, may have been related members of the A5 pod, although captured a year apart. Similarly, two of the orcas at the Vancouver Aquarium were captured at the same time and locale in Iceland. DNA tests were performed to determine the first calf's parentage, claimed to be that of the now deceased Hyak captured in British Columbia. However, the Vancouver Aquarium has never revealed the relationship between the two Icelandic orcas.

Surplus animals... Most zoo authorities would agree that the fate of surplus individuals ranks among the paramount issues facing zoos at the present time (Lindberg and Lindberg, cited in Norton et al, 1995). Geneticist Roger Vrijenhoek cautioned that "surplus individuals are a likely outcome of any breeding programme that seeks to avoid inbreeding" (cited in Norton et al, 1995). Duffield and Darey (1994) confirmed the existence of "surplus" dolphins: "Although the annual birth rate in the captive bottlenose dolphin population has continued to increase dramatically since the early 1970s, it is currently declining. Ironically, this is due to the success of breeding this species, because the reduction in numbers of babies since 1992 is due to many of the breeding facilities having reached carrying capacity" (emphasis added). Robert Lacy of Chicago's Brookfield Zoo believes that, "If zoos also have a mission of furthering conservation, then unnecessary production of surplus animals is an inexcusable dereliction of our duty to use resources wisely for the protection of the natural world." Lacy added, "I cannot condone the production of surplus animals simply to satisfy the short-term and shallow goals of convenience (eg not contracepting) or light entertainment of a few people. The costs in terms of individual


animals, of species, and of desensitising people to the value of animals is too great" (cited in Norton et al, 1995). According to Lindberg and Lindberg (cited in Norton et al, 1995), "Lacking natural culling processes, captive populations contain individuals that have suffered reproductive incapacitation from advanced age, disease, or inherited disorders. Although some of these individuals may retain a social value to conspecifics, nonreproductive adults in carefully managed captive populations are usually regarded as surplus to those programmes and considered dispensible." Furthermore, "those that met their genetic quota while still relatively young would become surplus to propagation efforts long before their natural lives were over." It is certain that many captive pinniped species are considered "surplus". It is now clear that there is an excess of bottlenose dolphins as well. In August 1994, the Florida facility Ocean World closed its doors, facing the task of relocating twelve bottlenose dolphins. Since no other U.S. facility offered to take the animals, all were sold to a facility in Honduras, where two died shortly after arrival. Sixteen months later, eight of the ten remaining animals escaped from their sea pen during a storm. The U.S. Navy, under orders by the Department of Defence to "down-size" its marine mammal programme, still has animals to place. In April 1995, four bottlenose dolphins, two from Marine World Africa USA and two from Chicago's Brookfield Zoo, were exported to a previously unknown facility in Portugal under the guise of a breeding loan. No animal exchanged between U.S. and foreign facilities for the purpose of such loans has ever returned. As of April 1995, eight U.S. marine parks have not yet reported the gender of 22 captive-born bottlenose dolphins; some of the births occurred as early as 1992. In August 1995, the military requested transfer of six Navy dolphins to the foreign swim-with facility "Dolphin Quest", operated by Jay Sweeney in French Polynesia near Tahiti. The Atlantic bottlenose dolphins, aged 14 to 21 years, are believed to be far too old to be considered safe with participants, especially considering their unknown military background. Because zoos remain extremely sensitive to the public's perception of "culling" excess animals, one option of dealing with surplus populations is to transfer unwanted individuals to zoos abroad, where spaces are available, but standards for care and maintenance may be non-existent, lax, or unenforcable. Thus, today's zoos and aquariums are now being forced into an 'any port in the storm' policy. Even the former Soviet Union is seeking homes for its once top-secret military dolphins, currently held in the Ukraine port of Sevastopol in the Black Sea (Poletz, 1995). Representatives of Chicago's Brookfield Zoo acknowledged the surplus factor, suggesting that, "it has become desirable to develop a reliable and reversible method of contraception which would allow for increased flexibility in management" (Messinger et al, 1995). Contraception was also recommended to "allow for an alternative to relocation or separation." Therefore, because a surplus already exists, future captures, imports, exports and continued breeding can hardly be justified.


Conclusion... Captive breeding is a slow, risky, and resource-consuming process. It is universally accepted that only a handful of the world's endangered species can benefit from it, and therefore, the choice of which species to breed becomes critical. Of the 13 small cetacean species designated endangered, none is currently exhibited in the United States. Sea World has spent a staggering $130 million since establishing its killer whale breeding programme in the early 1980s (Andrews, 1991). They have produced eight surviving offspring, at a cost of $16.25 million per calf to date! Loftin argued that, "Captive breeding is an extreme example of single-species management, in which an attractive species is singled out for an enormous amount of attention and effort. An equal amount of effort expended on the preservation of complete ecosystems through habitat preservation would be far more valuable in the long term" (cited in Norton et al, 1995). Lindberg and Lindberg commented that "many of the resources of zoos are today consumed by species not at risk" (cited in Norton et al, 1995). After more than three decades of confinement, the captive breeding of cetaceans with the exception of the Atlantic bottlenose dolphin - can only be described as abysmal. Captive breeding, as conducted by aquariums, is contrary to the World Conservation Union (IUCN) Policy Statement that: "Reintroduction to the wild should be the ultimate objective of all captive breeding programmes" (IUCN, 1991). Reintroduction has never been a component of cetacean captive breeding programmes. Breeding programmes may provide new captive animals, but their value to conservation is highly questionable. Is the aim only to conserve a species in captivity? Before marine parks flaunt captive breeding and conservation programmes, the issue must be objectively examined in its proper context. In order to achieve an honest evaluation, it is necessary to begin a programme of radical reform. But to date, the industry is not contributing to conservation through captive breeding; but simply manipulating its own internal supply of animals for a self-serving agenda.



Rehabilitation: humanitarian or opportunistic?

"Alliance members spend millions rescuing, rehabilitating and releasing marine mammals found stranded along our coastlines that would die without the commitment of extensive resources and the medical expertise of these facilities. More than 1,500 animals have been returned to their natural environments through these voluntary efforts since 1987." (Alliance of Marine Mammal Parks and Aquariums, 1993)

Response: Although efforts to rehabilitate beached and stranded marine mammals are commendable and sometimes heroic, they are not without controversy. At least eight Alliance member facilities are incapable of responding to strandings due to their geographic location far from the coast. The majority of animals returned to their natural environments consists of pinnipeds and aquatic birds. Live cetacean strandings are rare, comprising less than one percent of marine mammal strandings. Furthermore, it is estimated that less than 5% of cetaceans which strand alive survive rehabilitation. Marine mammal veterinarian Leslie Dierauf (1990) reflected on the purpose of rehabilitation: "It may be a cruel thing to say, but most rehabilitation is done for the people involved, rather than the actual animal populations." While treating beached or stranded animals may provide insight to disease trends and the health and stability of the marine environment, are we not also interfering with the course of nature? Without question, public display facilities have benefited greatly through positive publicity and, subsequently, a humanitarian image. Additionally, it's highly probable that expenses incurred are written off as tax deductions. In 1992, the Shedd Aquarium was so anxious to obtain a male beluga to mate with its two females that it applied for an emergency authorisation to import a beluga featured on international televised news. The whale was believed to have escaped (or abandoned) from the former Soviet Union, and was swimming in Turkish waters off the Black Sea (Hodges, 1992). Besides the possibility of gaining a breeding male, positive media coverage was almost guaranteed. However, the permit application was denied. Following the highly publicized death of an abandoned infant gray whale off Pt. Loma in January 1997, both Sea World and NMFS were criticised for their indecisive and flawed policies. NMFS must authorize the taking of distressed marine mammals unless the animals have beached themselves or have been harmed as a result of human-related causes. The infant was entangled in kelp during the species migration to the lagoons of Baja California for nearly 24 hours. Curator Jim Antrim attempted to defend Sea Worlds inactions, claiming a committment to rescue and rehabilitation of sick or injured marine animals, and asserting that Sea World scrupulously follows federal laws, policies and guidelines (Antrim, 1997). But only ten days earlier, Sea World officials refused to send any aid or assess another infant gray whale which stranded in Marina Del Rey, California. For more than 48 hours,


volunteers of the Whale Rescue Team, County lifeguards, Los Angeles police officers and concerned citizens stayed with the calf while the Baywatch boat and two helicopters searched for the mother. Without NMFS authorization, the infant was trucked to Sea World escorted by the California Highway Patrol where it was reluctantly received. Amazingly, the infant not only survived, but thrived and was dubbed J.J. Sea World, too, flourished with endless positive publicity, never acknowledging the true saviours. Regarding NMFS hesitancy, Stranding Coordinator Joe Cordaro admitted, The agency didnt look too good on this one (Rodgers, 1997).

Stranded cetaceans: release factors... Currently, no regulations clearly define criteria for the "releasability determination" of beached/stranded marine mammals, nor define time limitations within which the determination should be made, however an analysis of current views and practices was published in in 1996 (St. Aubin, et el). Although recommendations were made, no regulations have been implemented. This ambiguity has allowed animals to be held captive for years without permits and without requiring marine parks to enter animals acquired through stranding networks into their Marine Mammal Inventory Reports (MMIRs). Without clear criteria, stranded animals are subject to premature release or inapropriate detention. According to the workshop findings on Rescue, Rehabilitation and Release of Marine Mammals (St. Aubin, et al, 1996), 12 live-stranded cetaceans were permanantely retained by facilities, while 24 live-stranded, rehabilitated cetaceans were released since 1973. It is further defined that an animal is determined retained if it had been held at least one year without a formal decision to retain it permanently; or, if a formal decision was made by Letter of Agreement or permit for permanent care even if the animal died within one year of that determination. Excluded from the data are animals that died within one year without a formal determination on their status; and those held longer than a year but later released. It is noted that records are less complete on stranded cetaceans that were released. But according to MMIRs up to 1995, a total of 30 beached/stranded cetaceans were recorded: 17 were permanently retained for more than one year, 11 died during rehabilitation, and two were released. A number of beached or stranded animals appear in MMIRs which died within a few days, while others are not reported at all. At least seven cetaceans are known to have been retained for more than one year, but never entered on MMIRs. Therefore, it is not known how many cetaceans acquired through stranding networks were actually kept, or were eventually released. Clearly, inconsistencies are revealed between the two sources. As of April 1995, two common dolphins, a pilot whale, two Risso's dolphins, two Pacific white-sided dolphins, an orca, four harbour porpoises, three spotted dolphins, a rough-toothed dolphin, and six Atlantic bottlenose dolphins, are recognised by NMFS as having been permanently retained through strandings (Wilkinson, 1995). With the exception of the bottlenose dolphins and one common dolphin, none of these species have fared well in captivity.


The "professional" opinion of the treating facility's staff veterinarian may be the most influential factor in determining whether or not the animal has been rehabilitated sufficiently to be released as required by law; or if determined "non-releasable", permanently retained by the treating facility, or transferred to another facility. This practice represents an obvious conflict of interest. Although there are more than 600 aquariums, zoos, non-profit organisations, and universities participating in marine mammal rehabilitation within the U.S. national stranding network, marine parks are generally the only facilities equipped to accept beached/stranded cetaceans. Aquariums frequently have comfortable and convenient relationships with regional stranding networks, which present a greater opportunity to obtain new animals. Biologist Daniel Odell, director of research for Sea World's Florida park, also serves as scientific co-ordinator for the Southeast U.S. (SEUS) stranding region. Sea World of Florida is a key element in the SEUS network (Odell, 1991). John Prescott, Executive Director of the New England Aquarium, boldly stated that he hoped to retain pilot whales and white-sided dolphins rescued through its stranding programme (cited in Dumanoski, 1990). Marine parks should be encouraged and praised for genuine efforts made to rehabilitate and release beached and stranded animals. However, since 1993, concerns have been raised that marine parks may be reluctant to treat beached/stranded Atlantic bottlenose dolphins. According to the Marine Mammal Commission (1994, 1995), tissue samples taken in 1993 revealed morbillivirus infection in five cetaceans in the Gulf of Mexico. In 1994, morbillivirus was found in tissue samples of 18 dead stranded dolphins on the Texas coast. These concerns were confirmed when the first case of exposure to morbillivirus was documented in a stranded common dolphin on the west coast and sent to Sea World for treatment in August 1995. No one knows how the virus is transmitted, or its relationship to stranding mortality. Morbillivirus is similar to the virus which causes distemper in dogs and measles in humans. After the virus was detected on the west coast, Sea World and Marine World Africa USA announced that they would temporarily shut their doors to other stranded animals in October 1995. Both facilities announced a permanent moratorium on accepting stranded dolphins after a second case was confirmed on the west coast from a December 1995 stranding, at which time the second dolphin was euthanised. By refusing to treat stranded cetaceans, a research opportunity has been rejected to learn more about the virus infection and its effects on wild populations. This obviously undermines marine parks' professed committment toward science. Whilst morbillivirus was suspected as the cause of the 1987-88 mass strandings of cetaceans in the Gulf of Mexico (and, since 1987, strandings off the Atlantic coast), it has not definitely been confirmed, despite extensive research. Under USDA/APHIS, the Animal Welfare Act oversees licensed "exhibitors" (among others), and sets minimum standards for humane housing, handling, care and transportation (AWA, 1989). One of the standards requires that each facility provide a separate isolation pool for marine mammals, including "a separate, non-common, water circulation and filtration system for isolated animals." Only the largest facilities comply with this requirement, yet it is believed not one facility has ever been cited for non-compliance of this regulation. Tom Goff, Sea World's curator of mammals in San


Diego, has said, "We don't have a separate quarantine facility for whales and dolphins" (Kucher, 1996). Criteria recommendations for cetaceans resulting from the workshop findings include, good health and nutritional status, normal behaviour, and normal blood profiles, but as yet do not include requirements for serological tests. Stranded animals should be isolated until approipriate diagonstic tests are performed and treatment instituted. Additionally, isolation involves a discrete water supply, separate area for food preparation, strict disinfection procedures, no access by the public, and ideally, a separate staff. Pre-release conditioning may be needed to prepare the animal to sustain itself depending on the species, the reason it came ashore, and the length of time of its stay. The current policy is to visually mark or tag all released cetaceans, though participants recommended the additional use of radio transmitters whenever possible. Monitoring was recommended for a minimum of one to two months after release (St. Aubin, et al, 1996).

Questionable rehabilitation programmes... In 1977, an Atlantic bottlenose dolphin was accidentally caught in a shrimper's net and taken to Sea-Arama in Galveston, Texas. Dubbed Lucky, he served as the symbol of the Texas Marine Mammal Stranding Network for 13 years, and touted as SeaArama's "star performer". His photo appeared as a logo on tote bags and beverage holders until the park closed in 1990 (Texas Stranding Journal, 1991). He was temporarily transferred to the amusement park Six Flags Over Texas, and transferred again to the Chicago's Brookfield Zoo breeding facility in Florida in December 1990. Then, in April 1995 Lucky and three other Atlantic bottlenose dolphins were abruptly sold to the Lisbon Zoo in Portugal under the guise of a breeding loans. It bears repeating that no animal exchanged between U.S. and foreign facilities for purposes of breeding loans has ever been returned. Another unfortunate example concerns an Atlantic bottlenose dolphin which stranded in May 1984 at Sunset Beach, Florida. Sunset Sam, as he became known, was taken to Clearwater Marine Science Center (CMSC), a former sewage treatment plant and member of the Southeast Stranding Network. The animal eventually recovered; however, according to the attending veterinarian, Sunset Sam suffered from vision impairment, preventing his release. For six years, he remained indoors and isolated, under sporadic non-compliance with the Animal Welfare Act, including 1987 USDA space requirements. NMFS commented that "the tank was actually too small even for one dolphin" (Brennan, 1988). The Marine Mammal Commission has long considered the maintenance of a single dolphin unacceptable. Curiously, a 1985 USDA inspection report noted that, "this facility [CMSC] plans to add a breeding female to the present tank" (USDA, 1985), suggesting that the facility never intended to release the animal, and may have exploited its solitary status in order to obtain an additional animal. A joint agency inspection was conducted in January 1988. Despite being riddled with contradictions, inconsistencies and deficiencies, the inspection recommended that corrections be made, and that CMSC should initiate the permit process to obtain a companion dolphin (Medway, 1988). In February 1989, five years after the stranding,


NMFS authorised a permit allowing CMSC to obtain another dolphin from captive stock (emphasis added). In March 1990, a companion animal was temporarily transferred to CMSC. This animal had been captured from the wild (emphasis added) seven months previously, by Gulf World. The second animal was returned to Gulf World in 1991, and replaced by a dolphin from the Navy, which died in 1993. CMSC received yet another beached/stranded animal in 1994 - courtesy of Sea World. Sunset Sam has become a local celebrity, featured in the media as an "artist with flippers": the dolphin, described as "blind", has been taught to paint! A veterinary technician tried this resourceful gimmick after seeing paintings done by an elephant at the Phoenix Zoo. CMSC defends the activity as "therapy", claiming that proceeds will be used to improve the facility (Fitzgerald, 1992). CMSC has profited greatly from the sales of t-shirts, lithographs and posters depicting reproductions of his work. One original painting was reportedly sold for $650 at pricey art gallery.


Influencing policy and politics... Aquariums perceive themselves as environmental leaders and agents of change. According to Nicholas Brown, Executive Director of the National Aquarium (cited in McCormick, 1993): "Entertainment was the key to the aquarium boom in the early 1970's, but the focus is now changing to include facilitating research, promoting advocacy, and influencing legislation" (emphasis added). Zoos have been hardpressed to justify their existence in a changing world ..the influence on policy of an increasing number of scientifically-trained zoo biologists cannot be discounted (Eudey, cited in Norton et al, 1995).


Recently, the origin of the professional organisation, The Society of Marine Mammalogists, has come to light. The formation of the Society in 1981 was first conceived as a mechanism to lobby for and protect the interests of scientists working with captive marine mammals. The initial purpose, envisioned in 1977, was to protect marine mammal scientists from anti-captivity sentiment. Although the Society has grown to be a respected organisation in its own right, it has continued, with few exceptions, to hold its biennial meetings at public display facilities. In June 1983, The Global Conference on the Non-Consumptive Utilisation of Cetacean Resources was held at the New England Aquarium in Boston. The Conference, Whales Alive, was attended by 167 persons, including 72 invited participants from 21 countries. Among the recommendations adopted was the statement, "Efforts should be made to bring to an end, in due course, the keeping of cetaceans in captivity, with a view to the ultimate replacement of dolphinaria by facilities for observation, educational studies and enjoyment of wild cetaceans." (Barstow, 1983). The Legislative, Information and Policy (LIP) Committee was formed in September 1983 as a component of the International Marine Animal Trainers Association (IMATA), "partly in response to growing misconceptions about animals in zoos and aquariums raised at the Whales Alive conference in Boston" (IMATA, 1993). On August 1, 1991, a resolution was submitted by petition at the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) annual meeting. Signed by 163 AVMA members, Resolution 13' opposed the further capture of free-living cetaceans. The resolution received a presentation by the petitioner and an opposing argument was presented by a contract veterinarian from Sea World. No further discussion occurred and resolution 13 was defeated (Thatcher, 1992).

Reforming regulations... During the 1988 MMPA re-authorisation, attempts to reform regulations were made by various representatives of marine parks (including Sea World, Marine World Africa USA, New England Aquarium, Marine Animal Productions, National Aquarium in Baltimore, Shedd Aquarium, and Dolphin Quest). These attempts were eventually sabotaged, after a draft plan was prematurely leaked to the Marine Mammal Commission by an unknown member of the public display community (Spotte, 1988). In a 1990 paper, veterinarian Brian Joseph of the Minnesota Zoological Gardens, outlined suggestions for legislative changes: "..A [fourth] opportunity is to lobby on our own behalf and to encourage lobbying and letter writing by our visitors and supporters....We should not be shy about asking. As previously stated, nearly 20% of all mail reaching federal legislators today concerns animal rights. How many letters have we written?.... Other opportunities that we should take advantage of include assisting in the development of animal legislation and the development of selfpolicing processes (emphasis added). Considering these in turn, given the volume of correspondence to legislators concerning cetacean protectionism, legislative changes


are inevitable. It is vital we communicate our messages and evidence of success to Congress." Thus, the foundation to dismantle the MMPA was established. The Third Annual Marine Mammal Environmental Symposium was held on October 2, 1993 at the Shedd Aquarium. Among the speakers was Nina Young (1993), Marine Mammalogist for the Center for Marine Conservation. The title of her speech was Marine mammals in captivity: an example of how the MMPA is missing the mark on important conservation issues. A significant portion dealt with captive marine mammals: "The public display industry has been beset by the animal rights community, the press, the government, and the courts. They are no longer without controversy and are highly visible and easy targets. While the attacks, for the most part, are unwarranted, the reputation of zoos and aquariums is not flawless. Like any industry it is plagued with bad actors or facilities. ...Further, the paranoia has become so pervasive and the debate so consuming that the industry no longer recognises its allies, genuine conservation issues that deserve attention, or its own successus and positive efforts. Much of their time is spent deflecting the accusations and countering the negative press and misinformation. ...Any hope of breaking this gridlock lies with the public display community's ability to undertake a pro-active, self-regulatory approach (emphasis added) to disarm the vocal animal rights community and overcome NMFS's inertia." Anticipating stronger regulations for captive marine mammals proposed by NMFS in 1989, the public display industry, under the powerful auspices of the American Zoo and Aquarium Association (AZA) and Alliance of Marine Mammal Parks and Aquariums, successfully lobbied to "restructure" and "streamline" MMPA regulations. The result drastically crippled the MMPA, reversing jurisdiction of captive marine mammals from NMFS to the understaffed, under-funded, woefully inadequate and more "industry friendly" USDA/APHIS, responsible for enforcing the Animal Welfare Act. In so doing, public display interests effectively removed 22 years of oversight protection afforded to marine mammals under NMFS, limiting opportunity for public comment and, essentially, achieving self-regulation. In the words of Robert Jenkins (1994), representing the "Alliance", the AZA/Alliance strategy was accomplished by a "co-ordinated agenda that included the production of materials outlining the role of public display and its contributions to the conservation of marine mammals, semi-annual visits by representatives of the public display community to both their Congressional representatives and the Congressional staff involved in the reauthorisation process, repeated visits to regulatory offices, formulating responses to the propaganda distributed by the animal welfare community, and assisting various institutions in dealing with site-specific issues... Through a consistent, co-ordinated, and unrelenting approach to Capitol Hill and the Congressional staff responsible for the MMPA reauthorisation, the public display community was able to achieve virtually all of the agenda noted above [its legislative goals]." How is it possible for the public display community to attain so many of its goals by advancing deregulation and promoting self-regulation, particularly in the legislative arena, whilst encountering increasing public scrutiny? High-priced attorneys, heavy lobbying and campaign contributions certainly help, but one of the most conspicuous


strategies is convincing policy makers by the unwavering assertion that those within the public display community are the foremost experts, albeit selfappointed. As a group, legislators do not have the knowledge and skills needed to handle many of the issues routinely presented to them, and therefore, are easily manipulated by the rhetoric of self-proclaimed professionals. For example,Terry Maple of Zoo Atlanta (cited in Norton et al, 1995) predicted that, "Zoos and aquariums will be the acknowledged leaders in the successful marketing of a universal conservation ethic and a co-operative network for environmental problemsolving." Further, in defending Sea World's new interactive programme, public relations director Fred Jacobs arrogantly stated, "Who else but Sea World is best equipped to handle marine mammals?" (cited in Schwab, 1995). However, Fouts encouraged the humility that comes with the acceptance of our ignorance in the quest for knowledge. "In other words, thinking of oneself as knowledgeable too often leads to arrogance... In a captive situation, it is too easy to forget our stewardship role and to be seduced by the king' role" (cited in Norton et al, 1995). What the public display and scientific community has accomplished by undermining NMFS juristiction of captive marine mammals to the even more permissive, less effective agency under the USDA, is known as "agency capture". This happens when a regulatory agency begins to work too closely with the very industry it is supposed to regulate. Information, especially information about how to approach and use the government, is the lifeblood of a democracy. The more freely such information flows, the better the democracy works. Blockages tend to unfairly concentrate power in the hands of the special interests. It is quite likely that more, not less, of these tactics will be seen in the future. Marine parks are already working with USDA in the negotiated rule-making phase to provide input in the revision of APHIS standards for the care and maintenance of captive marine mammals. In August 1995, the goals of IMATA's LIP Committee included review and input of training standards to APHIS, as well as encouraging more international involvement in non-U.S. issues (Brill, 1995). Many individuals who are too closely affiliated with marine parks have already conducted training sessions for APHIS inspections (Geraci, 1985; Cornell, 1988; Medway, 1988; and Geraci, 1989); and have participated in facility inspections as individuals and representatives of special joint-agency inspections (Geraci, 1986, 1992, 1995; Medway, 1987; and Medway and Cornell, 1988). The expenditures were largely contracted by the Marine Mammal Commission (Waring, 1981, 1992). In 1985, Sea World's Ed Asper acted as Marine Mammal Advisor to USDA/APHIS, assisting in conducting seminars on marine mammals for inspectors. The display industry's direct involvement with APHIS training sessions and inspections suggests another "conflict of interest". The Alliance is becoming more global, with foreign facilities now representing some 25% of the Alliance's organisational members. The European equivalent, so far as cetaceans are concerned, is the European Association for Aquatic Animals (EAAM), International Zoo Veterinary Group (IZVG), and International Association for Aquatic Animal Medicine (IAAAM), whose members often overlap. Consisting


largely of marine mammal veterinarians, these professional groups assert significant influence internationally, both through their persuasive recommendations affecting foreign policy and through their membership of the Zoo Licensing inspectorate. Some derive tremendous profit as private and joint medical consultants, encouraging the establishment of dolphinariums abroad, and directly assisting in procuring marine mammals.

Non-partisan and non-political? Anheuser-Busch is repeatedly noted throughout this report for its high profile, unlimited resources, and indisputable influence. Anheuser-Busch was more deeply involved than almost any other single corporation in the inaugural parade for President-elect Bill Clinton. Clinton appointed Ron Brown to head the Department of Commerce, the government body under which the National Marine Fisheries Service falls. Brown had been a former lobbyist for Anheuser-Busch under the law firm Patton, Boggs and Blow. A recent cover story in Forbes magazine (Lubove, 1995) featured a profile of August Busch III: "[He] hunts competitors the way he stalked the deer and moose whose heads stare mutely from the walls of his rural Missouri ranch house. 'The goal is dominance,' he said, and his ice-blue eyes tell you he means it. This is as fiercely competitive a chief executive as you will find in U.S. industry. The International Marine Animal Trainers Association (IMATA) Code of Professional Ethics begins by stating, "The International Marine Animal Trainers Association recognises its role in and responsibilities to the continued existence of oceanaria, aquaria, and laboratories housing marine animals" (Allen, 1993). Article IV of the bylaws states: "This Corporation has been formed under the California Nonprofit Public Benefit Corporation Law for purposes described in Article III [above], and it shall be non-profit and non-partisan. No substantial part of the activities of the Corporation shall consist of the publication or dissemination of materials with the purpose of attempting to influence legislation, and the Corporation shall not participate or intervene in any political campaign on behalf of any candidate for public office or for or against any cause or measure being submitted to the people for a vote" (Messinger, 1993). However, whilst marine parks may outwardly attempt to refute any involvement in politics, Jeffrey Haun revealed the hidden agenda of the International Marine Animal Trainers Association during his keynote address at the 1992 IMATA conference (Haun, 1992): "IMATA is not a special interest group per se. It was originally intended to be a professionally-oriented organisation of its members...This doesn't mean that IMATA has not or does not concern itself with things political, quite the contrary. IMATA has been very active as a political force and I hope that it will continue that tack in the future. IMATA, your organisation, is involved in both National and International politics, is represented at International Whaling Commission Meetings, Convention of International Trade in Endangered Species, and Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species meetings. IMATA representatives participated in the U.S. inter-agency meetings, MMPA permit revision workshops and a multitude of other meetings. The National and International marine


mammal community definitely knows who the IMATA is and when you as a group speak, others do listen." Likewise, the AZA is also a Corporation, "operated exclusively for charitable, scientific, and educational purposes as defined in Section 501 (c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1954". Its preamble to the code of professional ethics states: "The continued existence of zoological parks and aquariums depends upon recognition that our profession is based on the respect for the dignity of the animals in our care, the public we serve, and most importantly, for each other." AZA members are obligated to professional ethics which pledge to, "Use only legal and ethical means when seeking to influence governmental legislation or regulations" (Boyd, 1994). Yet, to date, IMATA and AZA policies could be said in some quarters to have been self-serving as well as flagrantly indifferent to their own standards.

Public relations and deflecting public scrutiny... In recent years, the ethics of corporate influence and misleading public relations have warranted increasing scrutiny. Marine parks have never been so defensive of the practice of confining cetaceans. Consider the words of Minnesota Zoo veterinarian Brian Joseph (1990): "We have, as an industry, largely inspired the primary threats to our continued operation through our own messages. Over the last twenty years, with or without scientific evidence, we have portrayed dolphins as not only intelligent, not only as our friends', but even loving. We are faced with a formidable task and a formidable, well-organised, well-financed opposition. Why should we care? On a very personal basis, one reason is to protect our own livelihood" (emphasis added). In a speech delivered at a meeting of the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA), writer Lee Baker (1993) noted, "People who work in PR should continue to do what is right, tell the truth, be fair, assume responsibility, understand and abide by the PRSA Code of Professional Standards, and avoid conflicts of interest, lying, cover-up, deceit, subterfuge, misrepresentation of facts, and influence peddling" (emphasis added). Writer Susan Bovet (1994) addressed environmental issues thus: "The general public's increasing concern for, and understanding of, environmental issues present public relations professionals with a number of challenges. Dealing with these issues will require public relations professionals to take an increasing sophisticated approach to their craft, as they will be called upon to influence behaviour of individuals, communities, and organisations including big business and government. They will need to build coalitions, bring about consensus, influence legislation, and resolve difficult questions" (emphasis added). A glance at the topics discussed at former AAZPA and IMATA Annual Conferences reveals how vulnerable zoos and aquariums are to public scrutiny, and exposes the marketing methods employed for self-promotion. The 1985 AAZPA Conference discussed such topics as: Marketing to maximise profits and The zoo image: how it is perceived and how it can be promoted. The 1990 IMATA Conference contained discussions on Marine mammals in zoological environments: current goals, threats


and opportunities and An analysis of marine mammal display problems in the media. The 1991 AAZPA Conference included Research and cultivation translating to dollars; Public relations and marketing ethics for zoos and aquariums; Ethics in disclosure and Crisis Management. Subtopics included Taking control of the animal rights challenge and When an animal dies. Special guest Dr. Richard Crawford, Director USDA/APHIS discussed Improved co-operation between APHIS and permitting agencies. IMATA's 1991 conference covered the topic, Dealing with animal activists.

Discrediting critics.. Marine parks have often been presumptuous in their criticism of negative media, alleging influence by misinformed animal rights extremists. Yet, an enormous volume of editorials and articles has been written, questioning the confinement of cetaceans. Tacoma columist C.R. Roberts (1994) wrote, after Pt. Defiance experienced its second failed beluga birth: "Humans have a kinship with whales, and too long have we abused these animals with our selfish curiousity. Too long have our ends - science, revenue and entertainment - justified the means. It's time we grew up.... I enjoy [aquariums]. But there's a line. We crossed that line when first we stole a whale from nature. Those whales are not ours. They never were. They belong to the planet. They belong in the sea. We should give them back." How far will marine parks go in their attempts to discredit their critics? On the surface, it usually begins by casual dismissals, branding individuals and organisations as "vocal minorities", "misinformed" or "misguided". Yet, it is the marine parks themselves that sensationalise disapproval; fabricate "bomb threats"; over-react by using armed guards, and engage in high security tactics. Marineland's (California) early closure was attributed to "bomb threats" - unreported to the local sheriff station (Easton, 1987). FBI Agent Homer Rivera questioned a local animal welfare organisation in Texas, trying to determine if anonymous threats toward Sea World were a hoax; Sea World claimed no knowledge of any threats (Silverman, 1988; Abrego, 1988). Reporter Jack Dakota (1988) described some of the antics which occurred during the first demonstration at Sea World in San Antonio, which had opened only a few months previously. "Locally, the rally opposing the enslavement of orcas and other marine life caused Mayor Henry Cisneros, Sheriff Harlan Copeland and Sea World of Texas officials to react poorly. Under great stress, the local political animals performed miserably by trying to undermine and disband the demonstration... On the same day, Sea World's top cheerleader - Mayor Cisneros - was doing a diplomatic tapdance for the Soviet Union's highest ranking military officer. Reliable sources reported that Cisneros had ordered the city and county law enforcement officials to break up the Sea World protest before it began... Perhaps the mayor ...didn't want the visiting Soviet general to see democracy in action. Cisneros seemed to be demonstrating that the practice of free speech and assembly should never interfere with economic development and personal political ambitions." Since 1982, the death by entanglement of Sealand's orca Miracle had been blamed on activists attempting acts of liberation. After the facility closed, commercial diver


Larry McInerney, who constructed the underwater material and removed the body, finally laid the rumour to rest. McInerney said that Miracle died after pulling a piece of rope tied between two chain-link nets and a cargo net, until some of the chain link began to unravel. "She went through the hole and got caught in the cargo net and drowned. It was a fault that nobody at Sealand foresaw. Miracle was known to put small holes in the net" (cited in Dadyno, 1992). When the Shedd Aquarium moved three Pacific white-sided dolphins from San Diego to Chicago, the early morning transfer was accompanied by more than nine police escorts, including helicopters and canine units. To divert attention from the highlypublicised and critised capture, Debra Fassnact, a spokeswoman for the aquarium, claimed that a bomb threat was received by the make-shift temporary holding facility in San Diego, although allegations were never confirmed (cited in Flynn, 1993; Goodwin, 1993).

The future... In mid-1995, IMATA announced the Alliance's "new" proposal for media representation, "developing a comprehensive and pro-active public relations plan for 1996, in an attempt to communicate and reinforce a positive image to the public at large" (Messinger, 1995). The primary focal points include: 1. "Trainers, and the facilities in which they work, care deeply about their marine mammals and provide excellent care for them." Response: This point remains moot since those opposing cetacean confinement have never suggested otherwise. 2. "Public display is essential to public awareness and, therefore, the conservation of marine mammals on a global scale." Response: This major point can and must be questioned openly as the basis granting the very existence of marine parks. Serious concerns must be aired in the public arena, in a manner which does not threaten to close every zoo and marine park. Instead, we should focus upon halting future captures, imports and exports of cetaceans, and force facilities to be fully accountable for those animals currently maintained. 3. "Those working in the public display community are the experts, not those who criticise us." Response: The repetitive rhetoric of self-proclaimed experts must not go unchallenged! Few marine park administrators have scientific backgrounds, although research associates may be employed. Numerous credible scientists, experienced in various fields of marine mammology and marine mammal research must be encouraged to speak out against the billion-dollar marine park industry.


A major stumbling block in the campaign for cetacean freedom is the public's unfamiliarity with the legislative process. By remaining silent, the public has shown an appalling indifference toward the current anti-environmental climate and administrative assaults which weaken environmental protection laws and regulations affecting animals and the environment. The public must be educated, and encouraged to act upon their concerns. Besides education, advocates of cetacean freedom and preservation of environment can investigate the establishment of marine sanctuaries including "capture-free" zones in local, county, and state regions. Marine parks have disclosed their past and future strategies for influencing the public, media, policy and politics. Advocates for cetacean freedom may choose to follow the industry's course; namely, to educate, heighten awareness, and achieve change. There will not be a widespread concern for the welfare of the earth and the life that it supports until a majority of people have developed an empathy with the natural world. It is essential that we, as a society, develop an altruistic ethic that includes a respect for nature and a reverence for life. Throughout history, unethical institutions have usually been reformed by a slow evolutionary process. Almost without exception, reform movements have been the products of a very few enlightened individuals. Yet, like corrupt politicians, unjust institutions can be "removed from office", that is, they can be constructively changed and eventually abolished, through the efforts of a wellinformed public. Philosopher John Stuart Mill has said, "every great movement goes through three stages: ridicule, discussion, and adoption." Like us, animals are individuals who have a value independent of their usefulness to others. Knowledge, consistency, credibility and creativity can accomplish positive, progressive reform in realising cetacean freedom. Marine parks may have their defenders - but they have no reasonable defence.



Alternatives to cetacean captivity. Changing attitudes... Historically, the public began questioning the capture and confinement of cetaceans as they occurred regionally. In 1962, local ordinances, enacted to prevent the capture of the famed albino dolphin Carolina Snowball failed when she swam beyond protected waters and into the capture nets of the Miami Seaquarium. In the Pacific Northwest, the debate intensified following the large-scale captures of orcas in the mid-60's, and continues to this day with each "new" import or announcement of a death. Awareness turned to activism in Florida in the late-1980's, as captures became more visible. South Carolina became the first state in the nation to prohibit the capture and display of cetaceans in 1992. In 1993, Californians rallied against the capture of three Pacific white-sided dolphins. The mounting opposition was not accomplished by a small but vocal minority, nor by extremists, but through the wisdom of renowned scientists, distinguished authors, courageous politicians, former employees of marine parks, and, crucially, entire communities. Positive changes have already occurred and attendance levels appear to be steadily declining at those marine parks which still maintain cetaceans. Since 1990, at least 20 North American marine and amusement parks have permanently closed or discontinued keeping cetaceans. The most recent closures are: Ocean Reef Club, Florida (1994); Ocean World, Florida (1994); Steinhart Aquarium, California (1995); Worlds of Fun, Missouri (1997); and Marinelife Aquarium, South Dakota (1997). The movement questioning cetacean confinement is not limited to the United States, but is international: Positive changes which have occurred are subject to loopholes and repeal. Some of these include: 1975: Canada terminated its live-capture fishery of orcas. 1977: South Africa limited the number of dolphinariums to two scientific institutes, despite attempts by entrepreneurs to establish additional facilities. 1985: The state of Victoria, Australia, banned the capture and display of cetaceans. 1989: Iceland issued its last capture permits for orcas. Around the same year, Canadians became more outspoken against beluga captures, confronting captors in the courts and on the waters. 1991: The Canadian city of Victoria banned all animal acts, exhibitions and performances. 1991: Brazil enacted legislation making it illegal to keep marine mammals in captivity; (its last captive dolphin was released in March 1993).


1992: In a small fishing village in Gerze, Turkey, 3,000 people demonstrated against the re- capture of two beluga whales, which had escaped from a Ukraine naval base in the Black Sea. 1993: UK standards, (adopted in 1990), were attached to the existing 1981 Zoo Licensing Act. The new standards governed pool sizes and made strict provisions regarding husbandry. They contributed to the closure of all UK aquariums by 1993. 1994: Israel banned the import of dolphins for international trade and circus purposes. During the same year, the state of Queensland, Australia banned the capture of dolphins, and the Bahamaian government refused to issue capture and export permits for dolphins until a complete review was conducted, standards established, and monitoring determined. 1995: Montreal's Biodome Natural Science Museum announced plans not to exhibit beluga whales, following a successful campaign by Canadian organisations. Even Norway, which remains notorious for its whaling and sealing practices has no dolphinariums! In nearly every nation where marine parks exist, there are dedicated advocates for cetacean freedom.

Video and virtual reality... "So why are people concerned today? Why are they more aware? Because they have had the opportunity to see these animals and learn about them at zoos, aquariums and oceanariums throughout the world. We have provided the general public, whom would never otherwise have the opportunity, with a chance to discover the beauty and wonder of these animals - an opportunity that is more immediate and has a more profound effect than all the two-dimensional images in a book or video ever could." (John Kirtland, IMATA President, 1991). Response: Zoos, aquariums, and oceanariums do provide an opportunity - albeit in highly artificial surroundings - for the general public to discover the beauty and wonder of these animals. Yet, they undoubtedly do so at great expense to the cetaceans confined. Furthermore, such statements of opinion discount the many excellent documentaries and other media which have a greater potential to reach larger audiences, convey more factual information about the normal lives of animals, and depict those lives in far greater detail than is ever possible in captive settings (Mullan & Marvin, 1987). Today's society is characterised by mobility, with increasingly affordable transportation and an enormous variety of recreational activities from which to choose. Like others who pursue aspects of natural history, those truly interested in nature and the environment will go to see animals in their natural environments, and will seek other means to learn more about their interests. The reliance on television has also created a competitive demand for quality entertainment and documentaries, providing superior learning opportunities. It is quite possible that some of the heightened awareness and sensitivity to the confinement of animals can be attributed to the wealth of wildlife films, television programmes, news exposes, books and magazines.


Despite their continuing insistence upon promoting live exhibits, more marine parks are taking advantage of advancements in video technology to convey educational messages. The National Aquarium in Baltimore, New England Aquarium, New York Aquarium and Sea World all use forms of video, as well as live exhibits. Sea World, Florida, uses giant monitoring screens which tower over the orca performing pool, creatively incorporating humour from the pre-show audience through a hidden camera. Individual spectators are captured by the camera, eating, snoozing, rearranging seating, etc. whilst anticipating showtime. This tactic effectively commands the attention of others in the audience, who eagerly begin to look for themselves on the monitoring screen. As the warm-up builds, the crowds are already riveted to the screen. The subliminal message promotes Sea World, but also contains trivial facts. While the audience is "tuned in", the orcas are slowly brought in, and with a fanfare, the show begins. Live video simultaneously depicts the underwater action of the orcas, displayed larger than life on the monitoring screen. Some individuals even feel that the footage on the monitor is more interesting and dramatic than the action beneath the surface. Others have been critical of the educational content of video footage and display boards offered at marine parks. A New York high school science teacher (cited in Pregnall, 1991) expressed her disappointment after viewing the killer whale show at Sea World in Orlando, Florida. "At the killer whale stadium, there were three such [display] boards, two of which were identical and addressed the 1985 captive birth of baby `Shamu', a topic they already covered during the performance... In addition to the boards, there was a video, called Windows to the Sea, that played in a building approximately a quarter of a mile from the orca stadium. However, the video featured only three minutes of information on killer whales. It showed killer whales attacking blue whales in the wild and, once again, the first birth of a captive killer whale." The same teacher described viewing a film with her class on the release of three pilot whales re-habilitated at the New England Aquarium. "The emotional involvement was obvious on the students' faces. One sixteen year-old girl, after viewing the release, said something that will forever be in my mind: `We have finally used our intelligence to let them use theirs'." The Monterey Bay Aquarium has taken video one step further, by providing live broadcasts of images to the aquarium's auditorium from a remote operated vehicle (ROV) operating to depths of 3,300 feet. Eventually, satellite capability could bring LIVELINK to an even broader audience. Today's advanced technology offers opportunities limited only by the imagination to learn about whales, dolphins and other marine creatures without the need to confine real individuals. Whales - Giants of the Deep is a touring exhibition produced by the Pacific Science Centre, Seattle, Washington. The first exhibit of its kind in the world, it features giant moving, robotic whales, programmed to move, spout, and make authentic sounds in simulated ocean environments. Humpback whales surface and spout, while grey whales spyhop. The models have moving eyes and mouths, and all make whale sounds. The exhibit also includes many hands-on activities to explore how whales eat, breathe, survive, and communicate (Ginsburg, 1992).


Australia's Oceanis Underwater World Ltd., announced plans to build the most advanced aquarium at Port Phillip City. The $20 million high-tech tourist site will boast a virtual reality trip to the ocean floor with Hollywood-style robotics.

Thanks, but no tanks: cetacean-free facilities... Marine parks which maintain cetaceans generally fail to acknowledge the success of many established and proposed facilities which have chosen not to exhibit cetaceans, for both ethical and economic reasons. One example of a highly successful cetaceanfree facility is California's Monterey Bay Aquarium, renowned for its innovative technology and educational opportunities. The Monterey Bay Aquarium has been consistently recognised, not only by the public, but also by those marine parks which still exhibit cetaceans (Gavzer, 1993; Marshall, 1994).

The good news... Currently there are some more than six dozen established or proposed public display facilities in North America which do not - or will not - exhibit cetaceans. Today, aquariums are not necessarily being built for profit. The new generation of aquariums are now being designed as educational centres, and as catalysts for waterfront renewal. The building boom still being enjoyed by the aquarium industry is known as the "blue wave". It is possible that, in their quest to be more realistic, zoos and aquariums may start becoming simpler. Smaller cities are starting to build smaller aquariums devoted to marine life indigenous to their region (Jones, 1993). Progressive ecologists, scholars, philosophers and scientists are re-evaluating the ethics, ideologies, and theories governing our relationship with animals and zoos in the future. Philosopher Eugene Hargrove commented: "While it may still be appropriate to display some animals selectively, to provide some direct contact between visitors and living specimens, ..visitors of the twenty-first century may not need, or desire, to see a complete set of megafauna. If so, the triumph of narrative thinking could encourage the development of partially "zoo-less zoos" in which the animals live in remote locations, roaming under nearly natural conditions, away from the direct observation of zoo visitors, who would observe them indirectly through narrative documentaries (for example, videotapes)" (cited in Norton et al, 1995). Zoological architect David Hancocks: "A move towards more attention upon local habitats would encourage zoo visitors to value more highly the wildlife and wilderness in their own part of the country" (cited in Norton et al, 1995). Philosopher Dale Jamieson: "In my opinion we should have the honesty to recognise that zoos are for us rather than for the animals. Perhaps they do something to alleviate our sense of guilt for what we are doing to the planet, but they do little to help the animals we are driving to extinction. ...The best zoos of the future will be increasingly indistinguishable from small parks. ...While the idea of a naturalistic environment should not be confused with a natural environment (emphasis in original), it is clear


that human-designed naturalistic environments rule out some of the worst abuses to which captive animals traditionally have been kept."




The release debate... "Any suggestion that an animal in our long-term care be released should be approached with a great deal of scepticism." The Facts about Sea World's Killer Whales (1993) Response: Marine mammal veterinarian Dr. Lanny Cornell (1993) has said, "There is no doubt that whales and dolphins can be successfully re-released to the wild. Many people have been involved in such releases in the past, some on purpose and some accidentally." Canada's Advisory Committee on Marine Mammals (1992) encouraged research on various aspects of releasing cetaceans. One recommendation was, "experimental releases should be done with species such as bottlenose dolphins before being tried with belugas or orcas currently held in Canadian aquaria." Zoos have conducted a number of reintroductions of captive-bred species threatened with extinction, all of which were costly, many of which were highly controversial, and the majority of which were regarded as dismal failures (Sinquist, 1993). It now appears that the general consensus recommends that releases be conducted on species not considered threatened before those of species already in critical decline. With few exceptions, marine parks have conducted reintroductions only of rehabilitated animals acquired from stranding networks. Whilst experimental releases remain controversial, what marine parks have failed to acknowledge is that the real experiment began when cetaceans were first brought into captivity. In social animals, a certain amount of survival skills are learned. The degree of skills required that are instinctive is unknown. The possibility of a released animal acquiring additional survival skills from conspecifics should not be dismissed, evidenced by anecdotal references of cetaceans exhibiting altruistic behavior. Whales and dolphins have been observed "babysitting", acting as midwifes, lifting sick or injured podmates to the surface, aiding beached cetaceans, and sharing food. Such behaviour has also been observed between different cetacean species. Cetaceans, in particular, have shown remarkable abilities to adapt to different situations. One example of adaptation and apparently instinctive skills was the discovery, in November 1992, of Bahama Mama. She had escaped from the Treasure Island facility in the Bahamas the previous June, having spent 14 years in captivity. A team of Earthwatch researchers observed her freely associating with a group of seven dolphins, including a calf. She was positively identified by her former facility. This individual had obviously received no preparation for its release (Claridge, 1992). Wuichet and Norton, suggested criteria that captives should be provided with: a living environment that provides a species-representative group; experience health equal or better than that experienced in the wild (with corresponding longevity and quality of life); and the ability to express species-typical levels of behaviour, stated: "If it were


discovered that zoos are not, in fact, capable of providing acceptable levels of these criteria in captivity, it would be arguably appropriate to return animals to the wild" (cited in Norton et al, 1995). Robert Loftin acknowledged the risks and difficulties associated with reintroductions. "Nevertheless, we must reject the argument that reintroduction is too cruel to be morally justified... We are morally obligated to attempt reintroduction (emphasis added) and to do our best to make it work, whether we succeed or not. In short, we must try" (cited in Norton et al, 1995). Hancocks added, "Most important, we must recognise that a successful reintroduction, if it happens, is going to depend as much upon what people are willing to lose as upon what they are hoping to gain" (cited in Norton et al, 1995). Although a number of former captive cetaceans have been successfully reintroduced, marine parks have consistently strived to discredit every reintroduction conducted by other individuals and organisations, regardless of their meticulous design. Therefore, it is interesting to note that Marine World Africa USA (Bonde, 1995) suggested that "experimental programmes with non-endangered species of cetaceans and pinnipeds" be tried first, and that "public display facilities such as Marine World and Sea World are the only (emphasis added) organisations with the means and the expertise to undertake these ambitious programmes." Although Sea World has been the most vocal opponent against releasing former captives, it has, nonetheless, subtly acknowledged the concept of releasing captive animals. Addressing National Marine Fisheries Service, Odell (1991) pointed out that, "It is important to note, during the proceedings today, that killer whales are neither threatened nor endangered. Still, the knowledge we gain by having a small number of them in our parks will be of great value if the day comes that the species begins having difficulty surviving in the oceans."

Notable releases to date... Although many pinnipeds are rehabilitated and released each year, few are monitored after release. Compared with other marine mammals, few rehabilitated cetaceans have been released, and even fewer have been tracked and monitored (St. Aubin, et al, 1996). A paper by Randy Brill (1995) summarised a meeting to address the release of Atlantic bottlenose dolphins "sponsored by the Navy" held in 1992. Delegates consisted of "twenty-eight experts in the fields of conservation biology and marine mammal public display and research". They reviewed several highly-publicised releases to date. The meeting, however was not "sponsored" by the Navy, but mandated by a Congressional directive (i.e. at taxpayer expense) by the Department of Defence to, "develop training procedures which will allow [marine] mammals which are no longer required for this project to be released back into their natural habitat" (Congressional Record, 1991). All of the invited "experts" in attendance represented the military, or the public display and scientific research community in some capacity, with the exception of one individual.


Participants concluded that, "There is no compelling scientific reason for reintroducing non-endangered species." The primary reason, cited eight times within the report, was that such releases would not benefit the dolphin released, nor the host population. Concerns opposing release included, "the need for effective behavioural modification protocols, the risk of exceeding the carrying capacity of the environment, disruption of the host population's social structure and reproductive patterns, and inviting unwanted human intervention." Significantly, each reason cited presents a reasonable and effective arguement against bringing cetaceans into captivity in the first place! The same risks that were ignored during captures have suddenly become a foremost concern whenever releases are given serious consideration. Three releases were reviewed and dismissed. 1) Joe and Rosie (1987): positive for acclimatisation, release site, concern for dolphin population and potential environmental impact, and efforts to modify behaviour prior to release; negative for tracking two months afterwards, resulting in eight confirmed sightings. 2) Into the Blue (1991): negative primarily for the reintroduction of one Pacific bottlenose dolphin in the Atlantic (accompanied by two Atlantic bottlenose dolphins), and "postrelease sightings by local fishermen lacking credibility". 3) Flipper (Brazil, 1993): positive for pre-release preparation, post-release monitoring, and observed in the company of tucuxi dolphins; negative for alleged reports of bearing injuries (possibly caused by fishing nets or aggressive dolphins), and observations of seeking human interaction. Two releases were reviewed and validated. 1) Misha & Echo (1990): positive for rejoining indigenous populations, careful planning, execution, and documented, confirmed sightings; noted to be unique, considering purposely captured and held for two years with the intention of a scientific release. 2) Atlantis Marine Park (Australia, 1992): five adults and three captive-born juveniles: positive for pre-release studies, assessment of local offshore population, behavioural conditioning for foraging, acclimatisation to sea pens, periodic health checks, nine-month post-release tracking (radio tagged); regardless of efforts "plagued with a number of problems, including premature failure of radio tags." After six weeks, one calf was assumed lost, three adults recovered, and four unconfirmed sightings. "Despite the outcome, the Gales' project represents the first responsibly-planned and documented effort to return longterm captives to the wild." What is not disclosed in the paper about Wells' reintroduction of Misha and Echo was the immediate beaching of both animals upon release, and the failure of radio tracking devices on the same day of the release (Fitzgerald, 1990; Holland, 1990). Sea World's veterinarian Jim McBain (1992) described the Atlantis Park release on national radio, "It was really horrible. There were animals that came back less than a month after being released that were so heavily parasitised that they were dying. These were animals that were only in captivity for nine years. There were animals who came back to be fed. They had to recollect one of the animals. Some of them have never been seen again. So the assumption is, based on the ones they did see again, that they probably starved to death." Regardless of claimed successes and alleged failures by self-proclaimed experts, reintroductions have been conducted so infrequently that judgement is premature.


Clearly, reintroductions are certainly no more experimental than when cetaceans were first brought into captivity. All of the releases conducted to date might be considered flawed to some degree, as would be expected to occur in the gradual learning curve in perfecting any new procedure. However, responsibly-conducted releases should not be totally dismissed, based upon so few trials. According to Beck, "the topic of reintroduction, training, and animal welfare of released animals is still in its infancy in the zoo profession" (cited in Norton et al, 1995). Another contention within the release debate is that of motive and humaneness. Is the purpose of the reintroduction to benefit the individual animal; the species; scientific curiousity; or a personal agenda? Releases can be viewed both as genuine efforts towards conservation (by putting something back), and as preliminary experiments for the future reintroduction of similar endangered species. When acknowledging risks, one might argue that, similar to captivity, the release is a forced event. The released animal must re-establish its ranking or social order within its natal pod or population where the release occurs. Evidence already exists which repeatedly demonstrates that captives are frequently subjected to new social groupings due to frequent transfers and new acquisitions, where comparable social adjustments must be made. The released animal, however, gains the advantage of escape, an opportunity not afforded to captives.

Disease transmission... A foremost concern in any reintroduction programme is the individual's capability to survive, as well as any potential of disease transmission to wild populations. Procedures for complete microbiological screening have been conducted in numerous pinnipeds species rehabilitated through stranding networks. According to marine mammal veterinarian Leslie Dierauf (1990), research on disease transmission to date consists only of pinnipeds, "No one knows about cetacean disease transmission in the wild" (emphasis added). The numbers of animals [pinnipeds] released are small compared with population sizes and the diluting effects of the volume of the ocean." Additionally, of all the marine mammals, pinnipeds have generated the most concern and controversy over diseases once they are released (St. Aubin, et al, 1996). The Navy workshop (Brill, 1995) also expressed, "the inability to understand the potential for disease transmission between returned animals and wild populations and vice versa - while the participants agreed that disease transmission may not necessarily constitute a grave situation" (emphasis added). Following this logic, it can be said with certainty that the number of cetaceans released, or proposed for release, are unquestionably smaller than the number of pinnipeds already released. The potential of disease transmission may not be as serious as portrayed by the public display industry. When the Marine Mammal Commission commented on an export permit for six Atlantic bottlenose dolphins to be used in open waters in the Pacific, it recommended to NMFS that, "the Service is satisfied that the facility is aware of the problems associated with introducing a species to a foreign habitat, e.g., disease transmission, lack of immunity and the genetic implications of mixing species or stocks which would not normally share the same geographical region, and will take necessary steps to avoid related problems. In this regard, the Commission recommends that the


animals be properly vaccinated (Twiss, 1995).

(emphasis added) before they are exported."

Sea World held a stranded common dolphin which tested positive for morbillivirus exposure after stranding in August 1995. Little is known about the virus and how it is transmitted, or whether the individual dolphin is just a carrier of the virus. Initially, NMFS officals blocked the release. But the dolphin exhibited no signs of disease, and was eventually placed in with other dolphins for companionship. After five other stranded common dolphins tested positive for the virus antibodies, NMFS officials felt the animal posed no risk to the wild population. Stranding coordinator Joe Cordaro said, There was no fear of transmission back to the natural population because the natural population seems to have been already exposed to it (Kucher, 1996). After 14 months in captivity, the dolphin, fitted with a transmitter, was released in October 1996. (See Section 5 also.) Similarly, an international debate raged over the reported papilloma virus which infected the orca Keiko in Mexico. As plans for his rehabilitation evolved, those who opposed his release initialy focused on the possible disease transmission of the virus to wild populations. Veterinarian Lanny Cornell wrote in his preliminary report after examining Keiko, In the past, several people have seen or reported lesions similar to this in orcas in captive environments. All of these have been in man made sea water, save one. All facilities involved were of questionable water quality at the time the lesions were seen. All except this one have, at this writing, been cleared up, apparently spontaneously after the water quality problems involved were addressed. I would not be surprised to have, someday, a report of these lesions naturally occurring in young wild killer whales as we have already seen with walrus and sea lions (1993). And according to the USDA summary evaluation of Keiko, This condition is known to occur (emphasis added) in wild and captive whales and is not considerred a health challenge for Keiko (1996). Transfers of animals from institution to institution for breeding purposes also increase the risk of the spread of disease, similar to the risks encounterd when reintroducig animals to the wild or performing translocations there (St. Aubin, et al, 1996).

Questionable releases... A number of examples exist of releases conducted by marine parks which can only be described as irresponsible. Sea Life Park released its last surviving spinner dolphin, Kehaulani, on June 7th 1983, after nearly seven years in captivity; another spinner dolphin had died nine days previously on May 28th 1993, from "chronic hepatitis". Mystic Marinelife released one beached Atlantic white-sided dolphin, Harvey, on April 1st 1984, after four months in captivity, and six days following the death of another white-side from "pneumonia, septicemia". It is not known if either dolphin was screened for contagions; if any post-release monitoring was conducted; if the animals were released among their own species, or if authorisation for the release was obtained. Additionally, the carcass of at least one orca - Hyak of the Vancouver


Aquarium - was disposed of at sea, in an area of potential contact with wild populations (Bell, 1991). Having been captured three months previously, three orcas were released in February 1979 from the Sdyrasafnid Aquarium in Iceland due to frost-bite. According to veterinarian David Taylor (1979), frost-bite is not known to occur, or occurs rarely in killer whales out at sea, even in the ice-pack. Taylor explained, "Frost-bite is, essentially, the killing of tissue cells by cold. It is irreversible. Its effects, if severe, can be numerous. The dead tissue is an invitation to secondary infection. It produces toxic chemicals and lowers general bodily resistance." Although the three whales were reportedly eating well, they exhibited "large areas of damaged, though painless skin." Taylor added, "Such extensive skin damage would take many months to be replaced by healthy tissue. During those months transportation of the animals would be out of the question and medically wrong. It was, therefore, decided that, with all medical treatment courses completed, the three whales should be set free again so that they could regain normal skin condition under free-ranging conditions." Here, the ambiguity exists that the condition is described as "irreversible", and the release is justified "so that they could regain normal skin condition". In the earlier years, releases were not questioned. There was no indication of any preparation for reintroduction or follow-up monitoring. Similarly, little consideration was shown following the experimental release of the gray whale, Gigi, on March 13, 1972 . She had been captured as a nine-week-old infant in the calving grounds of Scammon's Lagoon, in Baja, California (Daugherty, 1979). This research endeavour was co-sponsored by the Sea World Research Institute, USCD Medical Center, and Sea World, where she was held in captivity for one year prior to release. Dr. Theadore Walker, a former biologist at Scripps Institute for 21 years called the release "cruel and inhumane". "They kept [her] in a harsh, inadequate space just to satisfy their egos by letting scientists play with [her]. Then they let her go without a snowball's chance in hell of making it. If she survives, it will be a miracle." Walker said that Gigi was released 400 miles north of the capture site, had never experienced deep water, and doubted her ability to feed herself or recognise her own species (1972). In fact, and against the odds, Gigi did manage to survive. One of the greatest differences between releases conducted by zoological institutes and those by wildlife rehabilitators is the basic philosophy of mimimising human contact and human dependance on the release subject. The goal of wildlife rehabilitation is to restore, rehabilitate and release injured or orphaned wildlife species; whereas releases conducted by zoological institutes have primarily been to reintroduce captive-bred endangered species to former habitat, in hopes of saving the species from extinction. Wildlife rehabilitators prepare release subjects by feeding only natural food or prey. In contrast, zoos and marine parks often fail to acclimatise rehabilitated animals to live prey (many animals having been either hand or forcefed), or to acclimatise them to new water temperatures. Zoos have been criticised for their tendency to coddle animals, and as a consequence, animals may lose the savagery they need to survive in the wild (Strauss, 1994). Marine parks have created yet another dilemma by creating hybrid species where no former habitat exists for reintroduction. Seven of Sea World's nine surviving captive-


born orcas (to January 1998) are the progeny of orcas from both Pacific and Atlantic waters. In July 1995, the first meeting of the Reintroduction Working Group met at the Pt. Defiance Zoo & Aquarium "to develop a strategy for using well-managed nonendangered species to model the application of established conservation techniques to threatened or endangered wild marine mammal populations" (Otten, 1995). The majority of invited participants consisted of representatives from the captive industry: Chicago Zoological Society, Dolphin Experience, Dolphin Quest, Minnesota Zoological Gardens, Mystic Marinelife Aquarium, New England Aquarium, NrAD (Navy), Pt. Defiance Zoo & Aquarium, Sea World, Shedd Aquarium, and U.C. Santa Cruz. Questions distributed in advance for consideration were careful and thorough. However, they were designed to create much stricter criteria (requiring "sufficient evidence") regarding release proposals, than were required to obtain government permits to permanently remove individuals from the wild! Although the group claimed, "We are not talking about freeing Willy", they admitted that, "We hope that our work in this area will be instructive should the National Marine Fisheries Service face a credible application to release any marine mammals that have been housed in a public display facility". The express concern noted was, "This is very topical because activists have established three facilities in Florida whose mission is to return dolphins to the wild, and many millions are being raised to release Keiko" (Menard Keefe, 1995). Considering the affiliations of those invited, and questions distributed in advance, it is reasonable to conclude that the ultimate agenda of the strategic meeting was not about endangered species, but more likely motivated to diffuse the release debate and manipulate policy. How far will a marine park go to thwart releases of former captives?

Orca release projects... Proposals to release former captive orcas have, to date, been vehemently opposed. Whilst no captive orca has ever been released, the idea is not new. In 1974, former Greenpeace president, Bob Hunter, suggested in a series of Canadian articles, the notion of "recycling" or "temporary sentences" for captive orcas. A young scientist named Paul Spong conducted experiments on the orcas at the Vancouver Aquarium. He quickly grew disillusioned, questioning their confinement and envisioned a dream of freeing his research subject, Skana. Whilst this bid was unsuccessful, Sealand of the Pacific did agree to the release of its female orca, Haida, provided it were allowed to capture two new young whales. The government of Canada approved the plan, but Haida died in 1982 before the plan could be implemented. In 1991, a scientific proposal by Spong was submitted to Sea World. It called for the release of the female orca, Corky, a member of the northern resident community which Spong had extensively studied. The animal believed to be Corky's mother is still alive. As "property" of Sea World, the proposal was casually dismissed, despite widespread public and scientific support. The Corky Project, as it became known,


received extensive publicity internationally and, crucially, served to inform the public about the reality of social bonding among orcas, their long lifespan in the wild, and the fact that some captives have surviving blood relatives in known areas. Media coverage established sufficient public awareness to place Sea World in a defensive position, which was not surpassed until the film Free Willy brought the concept to an even broader audience. The three Sealand orcas (which had caused the first human fatality by drowning their trainer), were also suggested for release, as they were considered by many to be too dangerous for future trainer interactions. However, Sea World had already filed an application (on November 6th, 1991) to obtain the animals. Sea World re-submitted its application, requesting an "emergency" import for the male, Tillikum, and citing the condition of the two females, one of which had recently given birth, the other due to give birth. Instead, on January 8th, 1992, NMFS authorised Co-operative Agreement No IQ. Special Condition number two stated, "If a permit is not issued for the importation of this killer whale, NMFS, after consultation with Canadian governmental officials, may require that Sea World return Tillikum to Canada to a facility...if no Canadian facility is available, return and release Tillikum at the original location of capture.." (i.e. Icelandic waters). This became the first occasion with serious implications for a possible reintroduction, as directed by NMFS. Three months later, Iceland's Minister of Fisheries submitted a memo to NMFS opposing the Tillikum's return to Icelandic waters. Sea World is a major customer of Iceland's live-capture industry, and a major financial supporter of the Iceland Marine Research Institute. Letters were later uncovered indicating contact between Sea World and the Icelandic Minister of Fisheries, assuring Sea World that the return of killer whales maintained in captivity to Iceland would not be authorized (Andrews, 1992, Palsson, 1992). ..Tillikum duly arrived at Sea World, Orlando, on January 9th, 1992, and NMFS issued a public display permit on October 7, 1992.

In December 1992, European groups urged the Barcelona Zoo to consider the release of Ulysses, an Icelandic male orca destined for Sea World. The zoo convened a panel to consider the feasibility of his release. The panel was supposed to consist of independent experts, but actually included industry-related participants. Significantly, Iceland had prepared a nearly identical letter to the one produced for Tillikum, opposing the return of Ulysses to his home waters, (notwithstanding the enthusiastic support of the Mayor of Eskifjordur, the city closest to where Ulysses was captured.) Highly publicised in the Spanish media, a number of internationally-renowned marine scientists supported the release, including Jim Darling, Victor Scheffer, Jacques Cousteau, and Spanish biologists Luis Mariano Gonzalez and Miguel Angel Valladares. Nevertheless, Ulysses arrived at Sea World, San Diego February 9th, 1994. There was little campaigning for the release of the male orca, Tanouk, after reports surfaced, in May 1995, that Marineland in France felt that it could no longer provide him with enough room. Marineland also held another male, two females, one juvenile, and was awaiting another birth. Participants at the European Association for Aquatic Mammals (EAAM) conference reported that Marineland was not receptive to his release. Captured in Iceland in 1989, and having experienced only the company of


other Icelandic orcas, Tanouk may have been a good candidate for a reintroduction. Instead, on November 19th, 1995, he was abruptly transferred to a facility in Japan which kept no other orcas. Tanouk was photographed in December 1995, playing with a plastic bag in a sea pen. He had several noticeable cuts on his belly and blotchy pectoral fins. Only six years after his capture, his dorsal fin already lay bent. Even before the release of the film Free Willy, plans were being quietly devised for the possible release of the Icelandic orca known as Keiko. Since 1990, Keiko's owners in Mexico had repeatedly asked for assistance to place the unwanted and ailing orca and, on September 1st, 1993, an agreement was reached between Keiko's owners and the Center for Whale Research, for Keiko's rehabilitation and eventual release. At the same time, the display industry was reportedly placing calls to Iceland, in an attempt to solicite pledges ensuring that Keiko's return would be denied. Within twenty-four hours of the rehabilitation plan being agreed, Keiko's owners in Mexico were inundated with "concerns" raised by the Alliance of Marine Mammal Parks and Aquariums, an industry lobbying organisation heavily dominated by Sea World. The Alliance heavily discouraged his release and offered assurances to oversee his care and locate a better home. Although these assurances remained unfulfilled, the Alliance had successfully overturned the agreement with the Center for Whale Research. As Keiko continued to languish, marine parks began a publicity blitz to convince the public that release would be dangerous for the whale, rather than for the industry. Finally, two and a half years after the film's release, Keiko was moved to a purposebuilt $7.3 million pool at the Oregon Coast Aquarium. Forty-eight hours after his arrival, Iceland's director of the Marine Research Institute announced that Keiko would not be welcomed back to Iceland and called the effort "a publicity stunt". Keiko brought celebrity to the Aquarium, along with increased attendance. As his health improved enormously, disagreements about his future mounted between the Aquarium and Free Willy Keiko Foundation. In August 1997, after a change in personnel handling of Keikos care, conflicting reports surfaced regarding his health status. With cooperation from the Free Willy Keiko Foundation and Aquarium, his health was evaluated by an independent panel facilitated by APHIS in December 1997 and January 1998. The sole mandate of the panel was to examine Keikos current health, and not to comment or infer support or opposition to his releasability. Recommendations concluded no indication of ill health or abnormal behaviour, but recommended, amongst other things, continued long-term monitoring; providing him with a companion animal of compatible cetacean species or pinniped species; and that an expert panel by assembled to oversee any decision on his rehabilitation. The so-called independant panel consisted of representatives of Sea World, the National Aquarium of Baltimore, Dolphin Quest, and two university veterinarians. Several events preceded the evaluation in early December 1997. Icelands Prime Minister pubically expressed his opinion that the proposal should be considerd with an open mind (Oddsson, 1997). The Icelandic newspaper Morgunbladid ran an editorial under the heading Keiko Home concluding that, The return of Keiko would be a delightful adventure while it would be interesting to see how he would fare in his home tracts. Hard arguements against it has not been put forward (1997). Currently, only time will tell if his release will become a reality.


Lolita, the oldest surviving captive orca, has languished in a pool shallower than she is long, alone and isolated from her species since the death of her tank mate in 1980. In 1987, and again in 1992, scientist Ken Balcomb from the Center for Whale Research approached the Miami Seaquarium, suggesting that it might be interesting to play back recordings made of the southern resident community from which Lolita had been captured, and record what happens. Lolita could listen to the live sounds of her natal pod via hydrophones and satellite link and even communicate back if she chose. The proposal had enormous scientific and educational potential by promoting the advancement of live-links for communication studies. Acoustic, photographic, DNA and pollutant studies were proposed, which would, hopefully, yield important information about the captive whale and her free-ranging family. However, management at Miami refused. Perhaps such an experiment might reveal more about killer whales than the management wanted the public to know. Determined, Balcomb even offered to buy Lolita, but was again rebuffed. In March 1995, Balcomb and the Center for Whale Research announced a campaign to return Lolita to her home waters. The campaign was enthusiastically supported by Washington's Governor and Secretary of State. The Center is situated adjacent to the waters where the J, K, and L pods summer in the San Juan Islands; the same pods from which she was removed. At first, her retired veterinarian, Jesse White, became a surprising ally. "As she is now by herself, I would rather see her out in the beautiful blue Pacific to live out the rest of her life" (cited in Viglucci, 1995). But, shortly after making the statement, he was silenced. Lolita is now a liability with an uncertain future, but the park's owner refuses to sell its star attraction. Her fate now hangs precariously in the balance, with powerful pressure being exerted by the marine parks to obstruct her return to Puget Sound, and public sentiment weighing heavily in support of her retirement from show business.

Getting back on the right track... Due to opposition by marine parks and affiliated scientists, reintroductions must be re-evaluated, and new guidelines established, by scientists and working parties, which should include individuals independent of marine parks. Co-operation from the National Marine Fisheries Service must be secured in order to conduct sound, responsible releases. Toward these goals, the Marine Mammal Commission (1995) announced that NMFS "is developing release criteria for stranded marine mammals that will also be used to assess applications for the release of long-term captive marine mammals." The Welfare Guidelines for the Re-Introduction of Captive-Bred Mammals to the Wild (1992) developed by the International Academy of Animal Welfare Sciences (UK) also includes suggested criteria for release. According to findings of the workshop on Rescue, Rehabilitation, and Release of Marine Mammals, it is noted, Among wild animals, marine mammals are viewed with a particular reverence. Attention has now shifted to the issue of marine mammals in captivity. Initially, this attention was to ensure high standards for maintaining the animals in good health, but it is evolving into the more fundamental question of the moral justification for confining them at all (St. Aubin, et al, 1996).


Summary recommendations basically include those mentioned earlier which apply to the release of rehabilitated stranded cetaceans. Additional considerations were recognized which include: That the animal may require several weeks of acclimation in a sea pen, a program to diminish reliance on humans, adaption to live prey, and ongoing medical and behavioral evaluation. This process can be expected to be significantly more complex for animals in long-term care or captivity. Some animals, held for lengthy periods in captivity may lack immunity to pathogens ubiquitous in the wild. Prolonged therapy with antibiotics or immunosupressive agents such as corticosteroids may also abate the immune response. The environment during the transition period should promote a diminishing dependence on humans and greater opportunity for socializing with conspecifics. Animals should be released within their home range, and during a suitable time. Theoretically, the effectiveness of rehabilitation programs is best gauged by assessing post-release survival. Resighting or tracking an animal provides a better indicator of its recovery. Critics should not judge the success or failure of a release based on monitoring alone due to the inability to track marine mammals at sea for a minimum of one full seasonal cycle after release (Brill, 1995). Despite the experimental use of radio tracking devices and taging techniques with cetaceans for more than two decades, their long-term use has failed. Experiments with satellite telemetry has been employed with mixed results. Thus, in most cases, we are not in the position to evaluate and compare release programs on the basis of survivorship (St. Aubin, et al, 1996). Another conclusion of the workshop summary and recommendations stated, Present knowledge was considered insufficient (emphasis added) to establish release criteria based on such factors as age at the time of stranding, duration of captivity (emphasis added), age at release, and social organization of the species (St. Aubin, et al, 1996). More encouraging was the finding that, these data, and the few successful reintroductions of monk seals, harbor seals, botlenose dophins and manatees suggest that marine mammals may be easier (emphasis added) to reintroduce successfully to their habitat than other animals such as birds, terrestrial carnivores, and primates (St. Aubin, et al, 1996). Nearly five years elapsed between the workshop and the publication. No substantial criteria was established, although recommendations were achieved. The primary agreement that participants reached was that further studies be made, and further panels convened. Between bureaucratic hesitance and forty-nine participants of various backgrounds and interests, it appears frustrating and likely that more time and more resources will be required to finally resolve this issue before a consensus is reached. Meanwhile, there must be a reasonable understanding and general agreement among release advocates, acknowledging that not every individual is a suitable candidate for release. An overly-emotional attitude towards the release of all captive cetaceans is neither reasonable nor realistic. The United Kingdom and much of Australia have already demonstrated that captures can be halted and marine parks can be phased out. One method of achieving this is


through a meticulously-planned, gradual release programme involving a sufficient number of compatible animals to comprise their own pod, and also for those cetaceans of known pods to be released back into the wild to rejoin their families.



Opposing new facilities. What happens when there is news of an aquarium/marine park being considered for construction in your vicinity? What is the best course of action to thwart the proposed facility, or at least ensure that it will be "cetacean-free"? A number of suggestions are offered to help answer these questions, but the list is by no means all-inclusive. The answer will vary, depending on how far the proposal is into the planning stages; the local political climate, and the degree of public support. First, do your homework; educate yourself on the issues and regulations. Find out the location of the proposed facility, who has initiated the proposal, and which construction firms are being consulted. Identify key supporters, potential sponsors and financial backers. Ask if cetaceans are being considered. Be persistent, persuasive and polite. Network with other groups with similar concerns; they can provide tremendous assistance and support. Keep all interested parties informed. Develop a consistent position statement and stick to it. Assign individuals to meet and negotiate with all parties, including local legislators and potential sponsors. Be positive - examples of existing and proposed aquariums which have declined to display cetaceans does appear to influence decision makers. The views of recognised scientists can also be impressive. Be prepared to compromise: aquariums can be educational without confining cetaceans. Arguments, other than animal welfare issues, which may be of concern to city officials and the public might include: Funding - where will it come from? Taxpayers are sensitive to the issue of whether proposed new facilities will be dependent upon local, state or federal (governmental) funding. Aquariums are expensive to build and maintain. Adequate attendence levels cannot be guaranteed. Aquariums are becoming increasingly controversial and may be vulnerable to unforeseen problems. They can be environmentally unsound, requiring massive water supplies and waste disposal. One dolphin can produce 20 pounds of organic waste daily. In 1985, construction began on the new $12 million Seven Seas Panorama at the Brookfield Zoo, which took two years to complete. After only 18 months, the paint on the dolphin pools was bubbling and peeling. The dolphins had to be moved back to the old pools while the work was redone. The National Aquarium in Baltimore opened in 1981, funded primarily by the City of Baltimore and $2.5 million from the Department of Commerce (using federal tax


dollars). By 1988, concrete tanks had begun to crumble and other tanks leaked. Around the same time, the aquarium was constructing its $35 million Marine Mammal Pavilion. The aquarium had to close in 1993 for nearly a year in order to complete a $10.3 million renovation, which involved repairing tanks, floors, upgrading life-support systems and installing improved light and sound systems. Taxpayers were asked to pay $8.75 million of the costs. Baltimore voters approved the bond issue by the narrowist margin of all issues on the ballot. Chicago's $43 million Shedd Aquarium received $5 million from the State and $5 million from Chicago's Park District. The anticipated November 1990 opening of the aquarium was delayed twice, both times due to buckling and incomplete bonding of the epoxy in its pools. Captured animals were held in Washington and California during pool resurfacing. The aquarium finally opened in April 1991. Former Long Beach (California) Harbour commissioner David Hauser (1996) opposed the city's anticipated aquarium due to public censure, as well as for economic reasons. "It is my thought that many realise it cannot pay its way - which is certainly strengthened by the losses suffered by virtually every other aquarium operating in this country." With the advancements of technology, aquariums will become outmoded within a few years. American novelist Ellen Glasgow has said, "No idea is so modern that it will not someday be antiquated." Advice can sometimes come from areas where least expected. Cindi Shiota, director of the Seattle Aquarium has said: "In the interest of building a good facility with adequate space and good animal care, [an aquarium] doesn't come cheap. Every living animal in an aquarium collection must rely on a life-support system to some degree" (cited in Kimbrell, 1991). Brian Joseph (1990) of the Minnesota Zoological Gardens has written, "Our economy is entering a period of recession during which expenditures for leisure may be much smaller. Marine mammal facilities are expensive to build and operate. The care of marine mammals is labour intensive. Despite the tremendous appeal of marine mammals to the general public, some institutes may decide that maintenance of the species is simply too costly." If co-operation is not received during preliminary stages, be prepared to develop a more pro-active, highly visible strategy in the public arena. Compile precise, factual arguments against cetacean captivity for fact sheets, letter writing campaigns, leafletting, media blitzs, newspaper and radio ads, radio and talk show appearances. Offer a "win win" option by exposing harsh realities: economic and environmental impacts, negative publicity, boycotts and uncertain public support. Groups in Denver, Tulsa, and Montreal conducted unrelenting, exhausting and ultimately successful campaigns. As with all hard-fought campaigns, time, patience, knowledge, sincerity, and a belief in eventual victory are imperative. Finally, in the words of anthropologist Margaret Mead: "Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it's the only thing that ever has."




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