POLL: Should the dolphinarium project in Arizona be stopped?

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A plan to transport a group of to the Arizona desert so tourists can pay to frolic with them has come under fire from activists who claim the attraction will be harmful to people as well as the dolphins.

More than 100,000 people have signed a petition against a plan for a Dolphinaris to be established on tribal land near Scottsdale, Arizona. The facility would house dolphins in pools and allow people to swim with and ride the marine mammals.

Dolphinaris is already established in five locations in Mexico. Its parent company, Ventura Entertainment, is looking to expand to the US with the Arizona attraction, which will be near OdySea in the Desert – a 35-acre complex featuring sharks, turtles and penguins.

The Humane Society said swimming-with-dolphins attractions are also risky for people. Photograph: Jonathan Jagot / Barcroft Media

OdySea has denied that it is affiliated with the Dolphinaris project. According to reports in the Mexican media, the $20m Dolphinaris development is set to open in July. A protest against the attraction is planned for 7 May.

Opponents of the Dolphinaris argue the hot, dusty environment is no place for dolphins, which would be expected to swim in small, repetitive circles in an area vastly smaller than their natural marine habitat.

The Humane Society said swimming-with-dolphins attractions are also risky for people. There have been reports of confined dolphins biting people and even incidents that resemble sexual assault.Advertisement

“These animals are used to an environment where they can roam, swimming hundreds of miles a day in a rich environment,” said Sharon Young, marine issues field coordinator at the Humane Society. “Once you put them in a tank, it’s an impoverished existence. It would be like if someone never let you out of your bedroom. There has been some sexual aggression towards swimmers. It’s not a good environment for anyone.”

Young said it “seems oxymoronic” for people to go to the desert to see dolphins. She called for better regulation of facilities with dolphins, with around a dozen places in the US offering swim with the dolphin experiences.

Some researchers have called for an end to dolphin , stating that it is cruel to trap intelligent, social creatures that require a large amount of space to feed and maintain relationships within their pods.

Tourist attractions that make marine creatures perform for visitors have come under increasing scrutiny since the 2013 documentary Blackfish caused a major dent in the reputation of SeaWorld, the theme-park operator known for its shows. In May, SeaWorld announced that it will stop breeding killer, or , whales in captivity. It will retain the 23 whales it currently has in its parks, however.

Ventura Entertainment didn’t respond to a Guardian request for comment on its plans for the Arizona facility.

This article was first published by The Guardian on 25 Apr 2016.

We invite you to share your opinion whether the dolphinarium project in Arizona should be stopped? Please vote and leave your comments at the bottom of this page:

Should the dolphinarium project in Arizona be stopped?

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Dean Neniska

Go vegan. Empty the tanks. Stop the slavery and killing.

Janet Durgen

NO MORE CAPTIVITY. They deserve our respect as highly inteligent & social beings that can only thrive in the oceans. We now KNOW how very cruel & miserable captivity is for them. I cannot believe this plan was ever considered knowing all we do now. IT'S A FOR-PROFIT ONLY PLAN. (With so many wild creatures on our lands and in our seas struggling to survive human pollution & countless other man-made threats, it digusts me that there is any question regarding how TOTALLY WRONG this is). They've evolved for only the seas, to live with their families as nature intended.

Gail Lockman

Help! I voted "no" without reading the whole statement. Please cancel my "no" vote and make it a YES. This is a very stupid idea.

Betty Conway

I'm sorry. I meant to vote against this but hit the wrong button. minus one NO vote and add one YES vote!

Heather Wesling

We don't need credentials to have compassion for suffering animals and commonsense to know that dolphins belong in the ocean and NOT in a concrete swimming pool in the desert!! I have done and continue to do my research on captivity. The jury is in after the 50 year experiment. #EmptyTheTanks #CaptivityKills #DontBuyATicket

Rose Doheny

Being kind and merciful to Dolphins or any animal,does not equate with keeping them in captivity.

Laura Herrera


Elizabeth Anke

You'd think by now that tourists would not be willing to accept cruelty as entertainment.

Amy Wright

OOPS! Acidently voted No. Didn't actually read the entire post. It Should be STOPPED. END Dolphin Captivity NOW

Anita Dahlfin

A wild animal belongs in the wild. When did humans ever believe that they have a right to hold these animals captive. No, dolphins are not happy in tanks. No, dolphins do not want to be touched by your dirty hands. End captivity now.

Suzanne Lane

Where is that pro cap person Bree who thinks she knows all about captivity? She voted zoos are valuable and so is any captivity. Then wanted to know what my credentials are but never answered what hers are. Shut the front door! SMH.

Leigh Lofgren

In this day and age, this stuff should have been stopped long before now and shame on them……this must be stopped once and for all. If people stopped going they would soon get the message

Anda V Zevedei

OF COURSE THIS HELLISH PROJECT SHOULD BE STOPPED. I have signed & shared on my fb the petition. I really really hope this won't happen. Animals should be free and freedom should be a right for all, not a priviledge <3