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The dolphin question

April 27, 2010

Ocean Park wants to buy about 30 bottlenose dolphins from the Solomon Islands. But no one knows how many of these dolphins there are in the wild.

If numbers are low, it could be  dangerous to take 30. So Ocean Park says it will give the Solomon Islands’ government money to study how many dolphins there are in its waters.

 If there are enough dolphins, the government says it will sell about 30 to Ocean Park. Critics say  even if stocks are too low, the government will push for the sale of the dolphins to get the money. They want the study to be led by scientists not involved in the issue.

Ocean Park last bought  dolphins in 1998, from Indonesia. Bottlenose dolphins are not endangered.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. April 27, 2010 4:23 pm

    Harry de Witt, Hong Lok Yuen International School

    My name is Harry. I am nine years old. I have lived in Hong Kong all of my life although I am British. I am writing about Ocean Park planning to bring dolphins from the Solomon Islands to Hong Kong.

    Ocean Park is a park for children my age. We do not want to see dolphins that have been captured in the wild and brought thousands of miles to perform tricks to get their food. We need to stop this from happening.

    I am lucky enough to have seen the pink dolphins of Hong Kong and dolphins in Australia in the sea – where they belong. I don’t want to see one or 30 sad dolphins in a small tank being away from their families and being trained by humans.

    If we have to have dolphins in captivity, then they should be born in captivity and not taken from the wild.

    • April 27, 2010 4:23 pm

      Cetaceans – dolphins and whales – certainly strike a chord with Western people. We know how intelligent they are and we like to think of them as having feelings. So we assume that captivity would be just awful for them, as we know we would not like it to happen to us.

      In a perfect world, every creature would be able to live the life it wants in peace and harmony. But as we all know this is not the perfect world. The dolphins in Ocean Park perform a very important service. They allow thousands of people to see them and learn more about them. This education and awareness is extremely important, because when environmentalists tell us “if we do this, the dolphins will die out” or “if we do that, the humpback whales will die out” those people who have seen how clever the dolphins are will remember and hopefully be moved to do something to save them.

      Generally speaking, dolphins don’t perform tricks for their food. They are extremely valuable animals and so their diet is carefully monitored and they get the best money can buy. They are also given the best veterinary care, are kept in social groups and given mental and physical challenges to perform. Whether or not all of this makes up for the loss of their freedom, only they will know.

      Susan, Editor

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