And because SWTD regulations were suspended in 1999 under the Animal Welfare Act, there has been no required reporting on accidents occurring between captive dolphins, or between dolphins and humans, for the past 15 years, according to Vail. But there have been serious incidents that include dolphins colliding and dying at a program in SeaWorld's Discovery Cove park in Florida during SWTD interactions. In other instances, dolphins have jumped out of pools, while others have died from ingesting foreign objects, said Vail, who cited media reports and the federal Marine Mammal Inventory reports.
There are roughly 622 captive whales and dolphins in the U.S. and Canada as of April 20, 2016, according to Ceta-Base. Of those, 480 are bottlenose dolphins. But the Dolphinaris planned opening comes at a time when similar institutions are looking to reduce that number, not increase it - whether through ending breeding or eliminating programs altogether.
"Enlightened public attitudes are trending away from exploitation of captive dolphins and whales for our entertainment," Vail said. "Quite simply, these free-ranging, sentient, intelligent mammals deserve better from us."