Coral World Dolphin Permit CZM Public Hearing: UPDATE/STT
Ill Tell Ya:
It seems to me that if you want to help the homeless you can get off your butt and do so.
If you want to help other of God's creatures such as Dolphin be protected from enslavement and captivity in unnatural environments for your amusement, greed and their exploitation, you can also do something about it, instead of spouting sophomoric nonsense.
Isl girl: If you want to focus on other issues or your bigger problems, start a new post on those issues and problems that you want to discuss or advise people about.
To me and many others, captive dolphins is both a big issue and a major problem and the practice needs to be stopped.
Dolphins are highly intelligent, sentient mammals that swim lip to 100lan a day in the wild. In
captivity they suffer restricted movement, forced human contact, artificial social groupings,
being fed dead fish, exposure to loud sounds and the performance of unnatural activities in
exchange for food rewards.
The proposed Dolphinarium is an open water facility in Water Bay, a problem area with runoff
from surrounding homes during heavy rains, including sewage. Captive dolphin waste sinks to
the ocean floor & currents don't wash it away. There are also protected coral species in the bay
and studies have shown that dolphin feces can damage coral.
This "attraction" is proposed purely for commercial gain and teaches children that exploitation of
animals is acceptable for the sake of turning a profit.
Coral World's argument that these dolphins were born in captivity is no defense. Their parents
or grandparents were captured in the wild for the sole reason to be put on display in a
commercial dolphinarium like the one Coral World wants to open.
We urge the US Virgin Islands Coastal Zone Management Commission, Governor John deJongh
and the Legislature to deny any permit to Coral World for captive dolphins.
PLEASE ATTEND THE COASTAL WNE MANAGEMENT PUBLIC HEARING ON
THURSDAY, DECEMBER 131b at EUDORA KEAN mGH SCHOOL 6pm.
SAYING NO TO CAPTIVI1Y
FaceBook: VI Dolphin Voices
Here is an excellent study by World Society for the Protection of Animals and the Humane Society Of the United States on
THE CASE AGAINST Marine Mammals in Captivity.
Quite the eye opener!
Those of you that may have an interest can also Google - Studies of Dolphins In Captivity for many other research articles opposing
dolphins in captivity and dolphinariums.
Meeting is this Thursday - See below:
Please attend the meeting which will be at 6pm on Thursday, December 13 at Eudora Kean High School in Red Hook.
It's being held in the cafeteria: use the school entrance farthest from Red Hook and the cafeteria is immediately on the right.
Please also consider putting your comments in writing (especially those who can't attend).
The period for written comment ends 7 days after the public hearing so letters must be received by December 20.
Coastal Zone Management Commission
c/o Jean-Pierre Oriol
Department of Planning and Natural Resources
Cyril E King Airport Terminal Building
St. Thomas, VI 00802
Thank you for your support.
VI DOLPHIN VOICES
Saying NO TO CAPTIVITY
I don't see them saying what you are talking about. Quite the contrary,
Hope the Coral World ad comes up as well
Well, of course, they would be in support Ronnie! It means more money in their greedy pockets with no concern for the dolphins.
I urge you to read some of the studies, especially the one above from World Society for the Protection of Animals and The Humane Society of the United States. http://www.humanesociety.org/assets/pdfs/marine_mammals/case_against_marine_captivity.pdf
All the scientific studies are out there, if you are the least bit interested:
A friend e-mailed me the following earlier:
"My question is how can this project be at all remotely financially feasible?? I went through the numbers in the EAR and they would need to get 35,000 people through the door EVERY YEAR each paying around $150 to pay for the maintenance alone. Each of 35,000 people would pay just under $200. or it won't work.
in the EAR they said their best year with the sea lions has been this year and they had a whopping 3000 people through the door Jan - March. So, the 32,000 people will be coming in June and July, maybe?
It's total rot."
My personal perspective is:
I cringe at the fact that the Sea Lions were exposed to so many people this year and ordered to perform all unnatural behaviors while being kept in a small enclosure.. It is just time to stop using God's creatures for greed and amusement.
A few things to keep in mind.
1) I'm not sure Coral Worlds obective is to "make money" from this endenvor.
2) The dolphns Coral World is considering adoptig come from captivity,
3) Coral World will not be capturing wild dolphins
4) if any one is interested in perserving the eco system in/around water bay, then I suggest you mount a movement to stop the mega-development on the beach.
5) Most of the on-island folks who oppose the Dolphin re-hab are the seame people who stand to make a profit from the renisance developement.
6) Most of the off isalnd people who oppose the project are not familar with Coral World's rep for enviromental stewardship.
As one of the biggest loud mouth tree huggers in the eastern Carib, I have no issue with Dolphin project. But I have BIG issues with the water bay renissance project.
And by the way, call people names, like stupid, doesn't make your case any stronger. The tone of the broad is changing....
Well, what do you think the sediment, water run-off from hillsides in the surrounding areas in heavy rains that are contaminated with septic and sewerage outflow, pesticides, etc. will do to a captive dolphin habitat in that area?
At least we can stay out of the water when heavy rains occur and rise all the contaminants and effluence that affect water quality and endangers us.
How do they protect those captive dolphin in the event of a hurricane?
The more captive dolphins are put on display the more both captive and free, wild dolphins will be in jeopardy.
If you really love these wild animals, you would not want captivity with no hope of release, ever, back into the wild for them.
Captive breeding is not right for animals that swim and can roam more than 100 miles a day.
Many are born into captivity from breeding stocks which are culled during massive hunts which kills many individuals but the fact remains that doesn't make it right
I have been to Coral World many times over the course of the years I have lived here, including before it was destroyed in Hurricane Hugo.
I have also seen it - not at its best with proper maintenance.
I am sorry that you have "no issue" with the captive dolphin project.
I do not stand to make any profit from the Renaissance/Water Bay project and I have to wonder how that may affect the captive dolphins as well.
Thought they are trying to do something like this:
Exerpt from WSPA and HSUS link:
In the debate over marine mammals in captivity, the
public display industry maintains that marine mammal
exhibits serve a valuable conservation function, people
learn important information from seeing live animals, and
captive marine mammals live a good life. However, animal
protection groups and a growing number of scientists
counter that the lives of captive marine mammals are
impoverished, people do not receive an accurate picture
of a species from captive representatives, and the trade in
live marine mammals negatively impacts populations and
habitats. The more we learn of marine mammals, the more
evidence there is that the latter views are correct.
The public display industry has asserted for many years that the
display of marine mammals serves a necessary educational purpose,
for which the animals’ welfare need not be compromised.
Mostly, this assertion has gone unchallenged. But as news gets out
about traumatic captures, barren concrete tanks, high mortality
rates, and aberrant—even dangerous—animal behavior, people
are changing the way they “see” animals in captivity.
Some facilities promote themselves as conservation enterprises;
however, few such facilities are involved in substantial conservation
efforts. Rather than enhancing wild populations, facilities engaged
in captive breeding tend merely to create a surplus of animals who
may never be released into the wild and are therefore only used
to propagate the industry.
Contrary to popular perception, captures of wild marine mammals
are not a thing of the past. Live captures, particularly of dolphins,
continue around the world in regions where very little is known
about the status of populations. For smaller stocks, live capture
operations are a significant conservation concern. Even for those
stocks not currently under threat, the lack of scientific assessment
or regard for welfare makes the proliferation of these operations
an issue of global concern.
The public display industry maintains that it enhances the lives of
marine mammals in captivity by protecting them from the rigors
of the natural environment. The truth is that marine mammals
have evolved physically and behaviorally to survive these rigors.
For example, nearly every kind of marine mammal, from sea lion
to dolphin, travels large distances daily in a search for food. In
captivity, natural feeding and foraging patterns are completely
lost. Stress-related conditions such as ulcers, stereotypical behaviors
including pacing and self-mutilation, and abnormal aggression
within groups frequently develop in predators denied the
opportunity to hunt. Other natural behaviors, such as those associated
with dominance, mating, and maternal care, are altered in
captivity, which can have a substantial impact on the animals.
Wild-caught marine mammals gradually experience the atrophy
of many of their natural behaviors and are cut off from the conditions
that allow the expression of cultural traits such as specialized
vocalizations and unique foraging techniques. Viewing captive
animals gives the public a false picture of the animals’ natural
lives. Worse yet, it desensitizes people to captivity’s inherent
cruelties—for so many captive marine mammals, the world is
a tiny enclosure, and life is devoid of naturalness.
Public display facilities often promote themselves as stranding and
research centers. In fact, most stranded marine mammals, especially
whales and dolphins, die after they are rescued; few survive
rehabilitation to be released to the wild; many releases are not
monitored for success; and some animals, despite their suitability
for release, are retained for public display. As for research, most
studies using marine mammals in public display facilities are
focused on improving captive care and maintenance practices—
very few of them address crucial conservation questions.
With any marine mammal exhibit, the needs of the visiting public
come before the needs of the animals. Enclosures are designed
to make the animals readily visible, not necessarily comfortable.
Human-dolphin interactions such as swim-with-the-dolphins
encounters and so-called petting pools do not always allow the
animals to choose the levels of interaction and rest they prefer
or need. This can result in submissive behavior toward humans,
which can affect the dominance structure within the dolphins’
own social groups. Furthermore, petting pool dolphins, who
are fed continuously by the visiting public, can become obese
and are at risk of ingesting foreign objects.
The public display industry fosters a benign—albeit mythical—
reputation of marine mammals, particularly dolphins. This constitutes
a form of miseducation. These species are for the most part
carnivores with complex social hierarchies and are perfectly capable
of injuring fellow group members, other marine mammals,
and humans. The risk of disease transmission in both directions
(marine mammal to human and human to marine mammal)
is also very real. Marine mammal handlers have reported
numerous health problems related to their work.
The ethical concerns raised by marine mammal captivity are especially
marked for dolphins, as they may well merit the same moral
stature as young human children. Although public display advocates
will argue that claiming dolphins have “rights” is based solely
on emotion and that these marine mammals are no different from
other wildlife species in captivity, in fact the behavioral and psychological
literature abounds with examples of the sophisticated
cognition of dolphins. Their intelligence appears at least to match
that of the great apes and perhaps of human toddlers—they are
self-aware and capable of abstract thinking.
Fierce debate continues over the issue of mortality rates and
longevity, especially of whales and dolphins, in captivity. The
most conclusive data are for orcas; their annual mortality rates
are significantly higher in captivity than in the wild. The mortality
data related to live captures are more straightforward—capture is
undeniably stressful and, in dolphins, results in a six-fold increase
in mortality risk during and immediately after capture.
In this document, The Humane Society of the United States
(The HSUS) and the World Society for the Protection of Animals
(WSPA) employ scientific and ethical arguments to debunk the
myths about marine mammals in captivity. And while humans
can subdivide the captive experience and even conclude that one
aspect is more or less damaging to the animals than another, the
totality of the captive experience for marine mammals is so contrary
to their natural experience that it should be rejected outright.
The HSUS and WSPA believe it is wrong to bring marine mammals
into captivity for the purpose of public display.
Response to Coral World ad in the Virgin Islands Daily News
Naomi A. Rose, Ph.D., Humane Society International
An ad by Coral World appeared in the Virgin Islands Daily News on 6 December 2012, headlined “Bringing Dolphins to Coral World: Let’s Deal with the Facts,” which contained seven statements. The following are responses to these statements. References for these responses are available upon request.
Point 1: Our dolphins were born and raised under human care and come from a well-established facility. They grew up as part of a social group and have always been accustomed to interacting with humans.
Coral World must specify the source for these specific dolphins. Without this information, this is an empty claim. There are very few facilities that have a surplus of six dolphins that are all captive-born and have grown up in the same social group – most facilities have animals that were acquired from several different sources (whether captive-born or wild-caught) and did not grow up together. Indeed, most facilities do not have surplus dolphins at all, let alone six of them. Also, regardless of being captive-born, when dolphins are moved to new facilities, this increases the demand for wild captures. The captive dolphin industry is not yet self-sustaining – if the industry keeps expanding, then wild captures will keep occurring. Coral World may not go directly to the wild for its dolphins, but building a new exhibit anywhere fuels future captures of, and trade in, live dolphins globally.
Point 2: Our dolphins will swim freely in a 2-acre open-ocean habitat, one of the largest in the world. The habitat and our dolphins will be subject to U.S. regulations and standards, the strictest in the world.
It is unlikely that the dolphins will “swim freely” at all times. As is the case with other dolphin facilities, they will be gated and moved into the smaller enclosures (the “sanctuary,” the maternity pool, and the medical pool) whenever necessary, which is not only when births and illnesses occur, but also when animals are fighting or otherwise behaving incompatibly. In addition, the U.S. regulations and standards are not the strictest in the world. The U.S. swim-with-the-dolphin regulations were suspended entirely in 1999 and have not been enforced since. In addition, the U.K. and Brazil have stricter regulations (e.g., they require larger enclosures, better water quality, more stringent qualifications for trainers and veterinarians than does the U.S.) and, not coincidentally, they have no dolphinariums – not because captive display of dolphins is illegal in either country but because their standards are so strict that no facility has been able to meet them in a cost-effective way.
Point 3: Our dolphins will be protected from predators and boat strikes. They also will benefit from regular, high quality veterinary care and attention that will help them to live longer, healthier lives than their counterparts in the wild.
It is true that captive dolphins are protected from predators, food shortages, and many human-caused threats, including boat strikes. In addition, they receive veterinary care. The logical corollary to these conditions is that captive dolphins should live longer, as Coral World claims they do. However, that claim is not true. At best, captive dolphins in developed-world facilities live as long as wild dolphins, as
determined by peer-reviewed analyses from the mid-1990s. Dolphins in facilities in the developing world, particularly in Asia, however, live shorter lives, based on information taken from media reports. There are no peer-reviewed analyses that support Coral World’s claim. Therefore, what kills captive dolphins as efficiently as, or more efficiently than, threats wild dolphins face? The logical hypothesis is stress, but the captive industry has so far refused to conduct the research needed to confirm this or any other hypothesis.
Point 4: Our dolphins have been interacting with humans since birth. Dolphins will never be forced to engage in human interaction. Our dolphin habitat will have a sanctuary area where dolphins can go if they do not wish to interact with humans.
The sanctuary as planned will not be used by the dolphins. A facility in the Florida Keys had such a sanctuary (a dead-end smaller enclosure entered via a gate) and the dolphins never used it, whether there were swimmers present or not. The space was not attractive to them and the entrance was too restrictive. Dolphins must be trained to go through gates and rarely use them unless asked. The sanctuary must be attractive and freely accessible or it will not be used. A study in Australia of a facility with such a sanctuary (as large as the encounter space and as accessible) determined that the dolphins did in fact prefer the sanctuary over swimming with visitors. When swimmers were present, the dolphins spent a significantly greater portion of their time in the sanctuary than when swimmers were not present. When swimmers were not present, the dolphins divided their time equally between the encounter area and the sanctuary, because both spaces were equally attractive, which will not be the case with the Coral World sanctuary as planned.
Point 5: Coral World’s habitat will have a specially designed system that will allow the dolphins to be isolated in the event of harmful run-off or other unsafe pollution. Environmental studies show that the presence of our dolphins in the open ocean habitat, which takes advantage of currents in Water Bay, will not have any negative effect on water quality.
The permit application submitted by Coral World mentions “environmental studies” that show the dolphin enclosure will not have negative impacts on water quality, but it does not cite these studies. A study available on the internet (see Global Coral Reef Alliance White Paper 2003) concludes just the opposite – the effluent from a dolphin enclosure in Cozumel was determined to be a point source for nutrient overload in a reef system, which was subsequently damaged. While it is impossible with the information in the permit application to conclude that there will be a negative impact from dolphin waste due to insufficient flushing of the area, it is also impossible to conclude that there will not be an impact. In short, authorities must insist that more data be provided and/or collected to assist in determining the environmental impact of confining 6-10 dolphins in this location. Given some of the information in the permit application, especially regarding previous eutrophication events in Water Bay, it seems more likely than not that the dolphin exhibit will have a negative impact on water quality, but the bottom line is that Coral World has not made its case.
Point 6: Quite the reverse is true [responding to the claim that dolphin programs are unpopular]. A recent poll shows that 97% of Americans (ages 18-24) would be interested in swimming with dolphins; 87% of Americans with children in the household agree that these programs are an effective way to learn about animals. And dolphin programs are not closing down. New and larger aquarium facilities that feature dolphin programs are on the increase.
The poll referenced here was a public opinion poll (not an academic survey subject to peer review) using questions that were biased or leading. Whenever a survey or poll gets a 97% response rate of any kind, the question was almost certainly not phrased in an appropriately neutral way. In addition, dolphin exhibits are on the increase only in the developing world (especially Asia, including China), where expertise in maintaining captive dolphins and regulations protecting captive dolphins are notably lacking. In the developed world, including North America and Europe, dolphin exhibits are on the decline – there has been a net loss of about 10 facilities in the U.S. (including the closure of one SeaWorld park) in the past 15 years and there are only two dolphin exhibits left in Canada. Mexico has prohibited the capture of wild dolphins in its waters and the import/export of live dolphins for public display (the remaining dolphinariums in Mexico must therefore maintain their collections solely through captive breeding). In Europe, Switzerland has just joined the growing number of countries that have ended dolphin display – it has prohibited imports of live dolphins, so its last dolphin exhibit will close when the three remaining dolphins there die or are relocated.
Point 7: Today cruise ship passengers and overnight guests are heading to Tortola to swim with dolphins and spending their money there. Keeping visitors on St. Thomas will benefit taxis, stores, even other attractions because visitors will have more time on St. Thomas.
Cruise ship tourists will remain on St. Thomas rather than going to Tortola if there are any alternative excursions offered on-island that are interesting, challenging, exciting, unique, or otherwise entertaining. There is no need to offer the same excursion (swimming with dolphins) to keep tourists on St. Thomas. In fact, offering a copy-cat attraction seems singularly lacking in imagination and long-term vision. St. Thomas should highlight its unique, natural attractions rather than risk the welfare of wildlife and the health of a local ecosystem. St. Thomas should be an innovator rather than an imitator and there are many groups that are willing to work with St. Thomas tourism operators, including Coral World, to make this happen.