The National Aquarium in Baltimore is home to six captive dolphins. In 2016, amid the rising anti-captivity sentiment brought about by the Blackfish documentary, the aquarium announced plans to close their dolphin exhibit and relocate these dolphins to an open-pen ocean sanctuary by 2020. The aquarium received much positive publicity for this announcement and was heralded for its leadership in ending cetacean captivity.
The 2020 deadline came and went, yet the dolphins remain in captivity to this day. Since the announcement, two of the captive dolphins have died, including Nani, a dolphin taken from the wild in 1975.
The aquarium cites climate change as the reason for the delay in these plans and now states they will find a suitable location for their release in 2021. We must hold them accountable to this promise.
Dolphins are highly intelligent and socially complex cetaceans that suffer physically and emotionally in captivity. Illness, engaging in self-harm behaviors (banging their heads against the sides of the tanks), and shortened lifespans are among the tragic consequences faced by these victims of the lucrative captivity industry.
CALL TO ACTION: Sea Shepherd asks our supporters to write to the National Aquarium and encourage them to keep their promise to close their “Dolphin Discovery” exhibit and relocate the dolphins to a sanctuary in 2021. The aquarium is in a position to become a leading voice for change – let’s make it very clear to the decision-makers at the National Aquarium, and the entire captivity industry, that the public will support these efforts.