Captivity

We understand why people love dolphins and why many want to see them close up, but putting whales and dolphins in tanks for our ‘entertainment’ is wrong.

Whales and dolphins are highly intelligent animals who want and need to live in complex social groups. In captivity they will usually have been separated from their families, often in cruel hunts and some when they are very young.

Wild whales and dolphins can swim up to 100 miles a day, hunting and playing. In captivity they have very little space and cannot behave naturally. A concrete tank can never replace their ocean home.

Our current Campaign is Ending Tour Operator Support for Whale and Dolphin Captivity

The mental, emotional and physical stress that a captive whale or dolphin suffers can weaken their immune system and make them prone to disease. Even though captive whales and dolphins are kept in an environment free of predators, pollution and other threats, they die young. The death rate for infant whales and dolphins is also much higher in captivity.

Captive whales and dolphins have been trained to perform tricks, day after day, for food as a reward instead of behaving naturally. When not performing, they are often kept in holding tanks smaller than show pools. Confining animals together that may not get on can result in stress and aggression with no possible escape.

Wild capture of whales and dolphins is brutal. Entire pods may be targeted and many animals killed or injured. Only the young and fit are taken. These are the future generations for these already vulnerable wild populations and their loss has a hugely negative impact on group dynamics.

We have no right to put these amazing creatures in captivity. Captive whale and dolphin shows are not education, or conservation; stress and disturbing behaviour is common amongst dolphins displayed in dolphinaria. Captivity is all about making money.

There are many fantastic opportunities to see whales and dolphins in the wild both from land and with a responsible boat operator, so help us end captivity and keep whales and dolphins wild.

Orcas in captivity infographic

View the orcas in captivity infographic as a pdf