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Design a cetacean sanctuary!

Discussion in 'Fantasy Zoos' started by TheMightyOrca, 8 Aug 2015.

  1. TheMightyOrca

    TheMightyOrca Well-Known Member

    28 Jan 2014
    League City, Texas
    With all the talk about the potential of a cetacean sanctuary being created, I've wondered how this kind of thing could be designed. I've done one before, but I've got better ideas now. I've also wondered how other people would design this. I'll post mine, and you guys should give your own ideas. Just follow these rules:

    - The animals must be kept in open-water pens. (seapens for saltwater species, freshwater areas for freshwater ones) You may build tanks for medical and rehabilitation purposes, but they cannot be used as long-term housing.
    - Seapen enclosures will obviously limit which species you can keep. However, you can build multiple facilities if you want to house species from different environments. You can choose whether you take in rescued wild cetas, captive ones, or both. Because this is a sanctuary, you may not do captive breeding at this place.
    - On-site cetacean rescue and rehab center is a must!
    - For monetary and educational purposes, this place must allow for public visitation at least 4 days a week. The animals must also have access to areas where guests cannot view them. What kinds of viewing areas will you design?
    - The facility is non-profit, so you'll want to come up with different ways to get money in addition to admission fees.
    - The facility should have lots of focus on education and research. Try to come up with ways to educate both guests and people outside of the facility. Also try and decide on what kinds of things you might want to research.
    - Promote education and activism. What will you do to teach guests?
    - You may have other live animals on display, but the focus is on cetaceans so try to keep it limited.

    My facility would be called The Cetacean Center. The facility is in a tropical location and focuses primarily on rescued species, so most of the animals here would likely be bottlenose dolphins. The Cetacean Center may rarely take captive cetas in special circumstances, such as if the owners want it released into the wild, or if it lives at a very poor captive facility and CC was its only option for a better life.

    There would be multiple pens, which could be adjusted in number and size depending on what kinds of animals are at the facility. This could potentially allow CC to even take in some types of baleen whales for rehabilitation and vet care! One large pen would be available for guest viewing. First there is shore viewing, with benches, shade structures, and binocular stands. Guests can learn about how to view cetaceans from shore. But what really makes CC stand out is the viewing tunnel that goes right into the ocean! In the underwater viewing area, guests will learn about species and individual identification. Panels will show each animal that has access to the viewing area and will tell its species, physical traits, and story. Signs will talk about how scientists studying wild cetaceans will identify individual animals to study their migration and social habits. Guests will be encouraged to try and identify the different animals they see. In addition, guests will be encouraged to observe the underwater environment.

    The rescue and rehabilitation center would be out of view from guests. (though some educational tours, such as field trips, may get the chance to see it) There would be some pools for animals that need to be held there for health reasons.

    There would be a large Cetacean Museum building, which will teach guests about cetacean species around the world. Before entering, guests are greeted by a baleen whale skeleton, perhaps a bowhead whale. The main room will feature models and skeletons of various species. Life-size models of a blue whale and calf hang from the ceiling. Guests will learn about the evolution, anatomy, and taxonomy of cetaceans. There could even be fossils and models of prehistoric species.

    The museum will also have a few smaller areas. One is the Conservation Hall, which will talk about not only cetacean but also ocean conservation. It will talk about all of the things that have threatened cetaceans in the past and present, and what guests can do to help. One display case will show the items that whales have been hunted for. Another display case will show items that have been found in the stomachs of stranded whales, dolphins, and porpoises. There will also be a model of a whale fluke scarred and tangled by a net. Another room will be the Cetaceans and People exhibit, which will talk about how different cultures around the world and throughout time have viewed cetaceans. The movie room would play short documentary films throughout the day. The lecture hall would host speakers, ceremonies, and even sometimes performances.

    To raise money, there would be a cafe and of course, a gift shop. The gift shop would contain the usual fare of books, toys, DVDs, clothing, and jewelry. Many gift shop items would feature more obscure cetacean species, souvenirs that would be difficult to find anywhere else. Gift shop items can also be ordered online. The cafe will have TV screens with live video feeds of different pens, including the non-viewing ones and the rehab center, at different angles. These live feeds can also be viewed on the Cetacean Center website.

    CC would also take donations, of course, and do different types of events to help raise money. I'm thinking some kind of adult-oriented event once or twice a month, where guests pay for a nice dinner and some good alcohol. CC would also raise money for other organizations that support marine conservation. Special nighttime movie screenings would be another way to raise money.

    CC would do lots of echolocation research to take advantage of the open-ocean enclosures. There would also be research on cetacean intelligence. Because of the focus on rescue, CC may hold species that are not common in captivity, so this could potentially offer research opportunities to learn about things like physiology and intelligence. Maybe CC could even do live feedings to see if there's anything to learn about hunting behavior.

    CC would host monthly beach cleanups. Maybe participants get a free day pass to CC or a discount for the gift shop or something. In addition, guests can sign up for various educational programs. There would be camps designed for children and programs for teenagers and adults. Some of the programs would focus on how the facility is run, while others might be about studying cetaceans.