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China builds dozens more ‘cruel and deadly’ dolphin and whale theme parks

Experts say that by confining sea creatures to a fraction of their natural ocean areas, aquariums cause the creatures to suffer physically and mentally. Nor do they have the complex environments they need.

JANE DALTON: ‘China has nearly doubled the number of ocean theme parks it has, spearheading a global rise in whales and dolphins kept in captivity in recent years, a study has found. The popularity of watching marine mammals in pools and tanks has soared in the country, driving a jump in aquariums from 39 in 2015 to 76. Thousands of animals are being captured in the wild or bred in captivity to provide an endless supply of animals for them – just as the tide of opinion is turning against marine theme parks in the West.

The report, by the Animal Welfare Institute and World Animal Protection (WAP), also discounts common arguments in favour of the tourist attractions, finding they provide little education or conservation value. And fewer than 5 per cent of all zoos and aquariums worldwide are involved in substantial conservation programmes, according to the study.

Experts say that by confining sea creatures to a fraction of their natural ocean areas, aquariums cause the creatures to suffer physically and mentally. Nor do they have the complex environments that marine mammals need, it’s believed.

Dolphins are most commonly caught in Japan, and beluga whales and orcas in Russia. The trade with China is lucrative: animals sell for tens of thousands of pounds. Since last summer, nearly 100 orcas and beluga whales have been held captive in a “whale jail” in Russia’s remote far east after being illegally caught for the Chinese market’. SOURCE…

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