After word broke that the National Aquarium in Baltimore was considering retiring its dolphins, the movement is spreading to other facilities. Protesters took to the streets around the Indianapolis Zoo last weekend, calling for the institution to empty its dolphin tanks.
According to Ceta-Base, a database of captive cetaceans, the zoo has nine dolphins, five of which were caught in the wild (meaning they could be released).
The group that spearheaded the protest, Indiana Animal Rights Alliance, says that out of 28 dolphins born at the zoo, only four have survived.
"I think times are changing and we're evolving and these species are so sentient and intelligent that they deserve better than to be exploited and doing tricks for people for entertainment," protester Leslie Holding told local WISHTV.
A statement released by the zoo reads:
We have not collected dolphins from the wild in more than 25 years. The majority of our dolphins were born here or rescued. Regardless of their origins, our dolphins receive an extraordinarily high level of care. We have a full-time Ph.D. nutritionist, one of the highest ratios of veterinarians per animal in the nation and an experienced Marine Mammal staff. While we differ in opinions about dolphins in human care and how to best ensure a sustainable future for all dolphins, we recognize that we, like the demonstrators, care very much about dolphin welfare.