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The future of marine mammals in the UK

Discussion in 'General Zoo Discussion' started by Panthera1981, 22 Dec 2014.

  1. Panthera1981

    Panthera1981 Well-Known Member

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    Hello everyone!

    Having been lucky(?) enough to see both dolphin and killer whale at Windsor Safari Park as a youngster, I wonder could (or rather should) there be a time when this type of marine fauna returns to the UK? And, if so, where to exhibit them?

    For the benefit of this discussion, the focus is on cetaceans and sirenians.
     
  2. IanRRobinson

    IanRRobinson Well-Known Member

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    As you know, Panthera, obedience is not one of my strong points...;)

    Consequently, I'd expand your criteria since personally I suspect that the shelf life of most pinniped facilities in the UK is pretty limited. Chester, Edinburgh and Twycross have already sent their sealions elsewhere. Other collections - Whipsnade and Woburn spring to mind - have California sealions (popular, but not at all threatened in the wild, and expensive to keep) installed in facilities that were built as dolphinaria. These buildings are now 40 years old and there must be some question as to their long-term viability.

    The twin factors that saw the departure of cetaceans 20-30 years ago have not gone away. Welfare issued are looked at with intensity by licensing authorities, who do not wish to have the likes of BFF or PETA on their backs. whilst the capital cost of building new, welfare friendly cetacean or pinniped facilities is likely to put off most UK zoo owners.


    One, final, unwelcome thought: maybe most major UK zoos simply don't have the ambition. Beauval is only thirty years old, yet it possesses a state of the art facility for Caribbean Manatees. I fear that too many UK zoos - certainly the bigger ones - are readier to copy one another than to seek inspiration from overseas.

    I would dearly like to see a UK collection similar to Harderwijk in Holland, but I'm not going to hold my hreath.
     
  3. Shorts

    Shorts Well-Known Member

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    What Ian says, baisically.

    I think the number of collections holding pinnipeds/marine mammals will, at best, hold steady (boys and girls in America) and, at worst, decline.

    The only possible bright spot on the horizon is a low probability, occasionally rumoured, move into dolphins by a commercial collection.
     
  4. mrcriss

    mrcriss Well-Known Member

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    Wouldn't want to see cetaceans back in the UK. I'm rather proud that we chose not to keep them in captivity.

    Would like to see some manatee in the UK though.....provided that the facility was spectacular! I'd hate to see them cramped into a small tank in a Sea Life Centre.
     
  5. Panthera1981

    Panthera1981 Well-Known Member

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    Wasn't there talk at one time of Colchester acquiring manatee?