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Cetaceans in captivity

Discussion in 'General Zoo Discussion' started by TheEthiopianWolf03, 26 Jun 2018.

?

Should whales and dolphins be in captivity

  1. Yes

    35 vote(s)
    79.5%
  2. No

    9 vote(s)
    20.5%
  1. TheEthiopianWolf03

    TheEthiopianWolf03 Well-Known Member

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    I’m going to a whale watching tour at Monterey later on this week. This got me thinking about the state of these giant mammals in captivity. Over the past few years (as noted by other zoochatters) whales and dolphins have been slowly being taken out of captivity in the US and Canada due to varying reasons (Public outcry being the number one reason). I first thought about making a thread about the possibility of baleen whales being in captivity in the future but then I thought this topic is more interesting to hear different opinions. I believe this has been talked about in the past but as it is currently 2018 and many facilities have lost their whales over almost two decades (Point defiance, Vancouver, Oklahoma City,) and a few facilities plan on not housing whales or dolphins anymore (Mystic, Baltimore). So what does everyone think? I personally believe that cetaceans should be kept in captivity but the facilities that keep these mammals should be top notch and offer the best for these animals. They’ll help educate everyone about their wild cousins and what we need to do to save them.
     
  2. aardvark250

    aardvark250 Well-Known Member

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    There isn't any animals fully suited to captivity.If the facilities is large enough, there is no reason why they shouldn't hold them. Some organization just object the action for nothing.
     
  3. Varanus

    Varanus Active Member

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    The main cause behind the public backlash against cetacean captivity is Blackfish, which is nothing more than animal rights propaganda full of half-truths, lies by omission, and blatant fabrications. To call it a “documentary” would be an insult against actual documentaries.

    I believe there is no good reason why cetaceans shouldn’t be held in captivity in comparison to other animals. That being said, there are a lot of improvements that ought to be made to their captive care, with larger, more naturalistic enclosures being the biggest one, especially in the case of killer whales.
     
  4. Kakapo

    Kakapo Well-Known Member

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    If there was not this damnifying "social concience" about no cetaceans in captivity, now Baiji would be still alive, and Vaquita will not be extinct soon.

    I find outrageous that thousands of Dall's porpoises are killed in Japan every year for meat, however nobody cares about taking alive individuals instead and breeding them in various of the excellent Japanese aquariums.

    Cetaceans in captivity (well, those species whose needs are well known and easy to replicate) live longer than wild cetaceans (as is the rule with tetrapods, generally) and usually enjoy a muuuuch more plentiful life, with much more enrichment and social interaction than they would have in the wild (it's just that is more interaction with humans than with others of it's own species).

    The persons that prohibited the breeding of captive cetaceans (such as in Mexico and France, I think), should be in jail for life...
     
  5. Shellheart

    Shellheart Well-Known Member

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    I'm glad to see the support for cetacean captivity (done well, of course) in this thread. There's very often a strange sort of cognitive dissonance with people on this site and in the zoo community as a whole, where they'll happily support elephants, wolves, eagles, big cats, great apes in captivity, all animals with either high intelligence or large natural ranges that can't be replicated in captivity, or both, but it's almost always cetaceans that are their real hang-ups.

    Now, one could point to statistics of captive cetacean lifespans, but that would also be ignoring how comparatively new cetacean captivity is to other species, and it evolved much more quickly. For example, the first captive orca was taken in 1961, and the first captive-born orca to survive was in 1985. Compare that to elephants, where the first elephant brought to the London Zoo was brought in the 1800s, but the first widely-cited captive born elephant to survive was born all the way in 1962 (and great apes have a similar record, as the first captive-born gorilla to survive was born in 1957, despite them being in captivity at least since 1838). The operative difference here, I feel, is that cetacean captivity evolved in a more socially conscious time, and now any further evolution is being snuffed out as a result of that social consciousness, and some very strong animal rights smear campaigns. If elephant or great ape captivity started at the same time as cetacean captivity, we would probably see this exact same level of public outrage. It does not help that nobody is putting stronger efforts towards cetacean captivity, and though places like China and Russia are still building new cetacean exhibits, they still aren't putting forth the massive efforts needed to show the world cetacean captivity is just as viable as keeping elephants in captivity.
     
  6. TheEthiopianWolf03

    TheEthiopianWolf03 Well-Known Member

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    I’m curious to hear about the reasoning for the person who said no. Do you have any thoughts on the matter?
     
  7. PaleoMatt

    PaleoMatt Well-Known Member

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    You can enable to view who voted in the poll.
     
  8. Smannsaker

    Smannsaker Active Member

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    Keeping animals in captivity is controversial. There will always be people working to end captivity. I belive there are three main reasons to why keeping cetaceans is captivity is so controversial. The first one being their intelligence (like apes and elephants). The second one being their innocent looking appearance (making people feel sorry for them), and most important one being that people hear about how brutally they young were stolen from their mothers to enter captivity. I think this has made the activists being to successful to make people hate the captive care of these animals. I definitely think that many dolphin and orca exhibits should be larger and more naturalistic, but I do also that enrichment and training can stimulate most of their needs. When I was at Seaworld Orlando, I felt like they had one of the best dolphin exhibits I had seen, and one of the largest killer whale tanks. The ironi is that they are the ones getting the most criticized and now they are forced to end parts of it.
     
  9. Merintia

    Merintia Well-Known Member

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    I think another very important reason why cetaceans in captivity are so controversial is the way most part of the zoos and aquariums show them. Since years ago, zoos try to show their animals in more natural enclosures, but cetacean pools are, except few exceptions, simple holes of concrete (and many times, too small ones). Also, the circus-style shows many of these animals perform several times at day, don´t helps to justify the need to keep them in captivity. Is difficult to speak about education or how the knowledge we can get through them can help their wild cousins, when at the same time you show a trainer using a dolphin as surfboard under deafening music. I think dolphinariums haven´t been able to evolve. Is true that there have been some nice changes lately, but mainly forced due popular pressure, when was already too late to change public opinion again. And also, situation with more and more captures in Russia and Japan makes things very easy for anticaptivity campaigns.

    Being said this, I agree with cetaceans in captivity, but would be necessary to make big improvements on the way they are keep.
     
  10. TinoPup

    TinoPup Well-Known Member

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    I think one thing a lot of anti-captivity people overlook is they probably wouldn't give a damn about these species at all without them being in captivity and thus used in movies, viewable at zoos, etc. Striped dolphins, spotted dolphins, common dolphins, and white-sided dolphins are roughly comparable in population numbers to the bottlenose and are easily viewable in many coastal areas, but the average person can't name any of those species and only pictures the bottlenose when they see the word "dolphin" because that's what they've been shown.
     
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  11. lintworm

    lintworm Moderator Staff Member Premium Member

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    I think that theoretically most cetacean species could be kept in captivity, the problem is that I haven't seen any really convincing enclosure yet and in the case of Orca, such enclosures will probably never be build due to the gigantic size necessary and thus the soaring costs. Even for Bottlenose dolphins I have to come across a spacious enough tank with any complex structure....
     
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  12. TeaLovingDave

    TeaLovingDave Moderator Staff Member

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    Not a fan of the Rio Negro at Duisburg?
     
  13. Dianamonkey

    Dianamonkey Member

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  14. lintworm

    lintworm Moderator Staff Member Premium Member

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    I really like the River dolphin and by current standards it is fine, especially as an elderly home for the remaining dolphin. But in terms of structure it is still a very barren pool and there could be more enrichment, though quite a lot of effort is already taken with divers and life fish feedings.
     
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  15. TheEthiopianWolf03

    TheEthiopianWolf03 Well-Known Member

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    Glad to see everyone is at the same page. I think the main argument for the people who don’t want to see these animals kept in captivity is enclosure sizes. @lintworm made a good point as I haven’t seen a exhibit for orcas that can be considered “amazing” or “world class”. Before we start bringing in new species I think zoos and aquariums need to give cetaceans the elephant treatment. Create a new standard for exhibits so that facilities that do currently house them can give the current exhibits massive upgrades. Which species are currently housed in AZA facilities?
     
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  16. BigNate

    BigNate Well-Known Member

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    I can understand an argument against barren exhibits in this case for the river dolphin, but for orcas/other dolphins who live in the open ocean, I'm not really sure what people are looking for when the say the pools are barren and there isn't any enrichment.
     
  17. Kakapo

    Kakapo Well-Known Member

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    Just anthropomorphization. We like green laws even for animals that live in deserts, and we dislike barren exhibits for that reason. In the same way we think that open ocean cetaeans suffer in exhibits that looks like open ocean instead having rocks and a natural bottom... Average visitors (and much more, antizoos and activists) tend to translate their own mind and feelings to other animals without understand the actual point of view of the animal itself.
     
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  18. BigNate

    BigNate Well-Known Member

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    So are they looking for a sand bottom and a mural of an ocean on the back wall?
     
  19. Chlidonias

    Chlidonias Moderator Staff Member

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  20. Chlidonias

    Chlidonias Moderator Staff Member

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    A concrete pool does not look like the open ocean, even less so for the inhabitants...
     
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