Join our zoo community

Acuario Cayo Naranjo

Discussion in 'Cuba' started by forumbully, 24 Oct 2009.

  1. forumbully

    forumbully Well-Known Member

    30 Dec 2007
    Kalmthout, Belgium
    so I went to Cuba a few weeks ago.

    in the first place for their rich herpetofauna, of which a got to see a lot.
    but secondly, we also visited 2 "zoos".


    one of them was acuario Cayo Naranjo, near esmeralda beach.
    the name acuario (which obviously means aquarium) is a bit misguiding as it is actually a delphinarium with 13 bottlenose dolphis and 5-6 patagonian sealions.


    the delphinarium consists of 2 very large pens, 1 show pen and 4-5 (I'm not sure) close contact pens.



    in the last ones you can swim with dolphins, do a few tricks with them, ...

    The sealions have their own large enclosure. and of course there is also a show with them.


    what makes the construction interesting, is that it is built in a bay and that all the pens are made of plastic netting. So the animals live in real sea water, and share their pens with anything that swims in. we saw several fish species (including a few small barracudas) and jellyfish.


    A few personal remarks on our visit:
    - besides the pros and cons on captive dolphins and besides the obvious commercial background, it's a unique experience to swim with dolphins.

    - at the acuario, they use the word semi-captivity for their animals. this because they are captive, but they still live in a natural environment (aka the seawater and interaction with animals that swim in). are they unhappy there? probably not as they have the possibility to escape (they've done it several times) and they always come back after a day or 2. at least, that's what I've been told

    - a 3rd observation I made. I'm used to seeing dolphins in delphinaria with slanted dorsal fins. of the 13 dolphins we've seen here, most of them had a completely straight dorsal fin, just as they would have in the wild. I'm not saying that these animals have a better life than in an other delphinarium or that they are "happier". but it's a fact that got my attention.