Captive Dolphins Banned In India
India has released a statement rejecting captive dolphin shows due to damage dolphins sustain when kept in confined spaces. ‘Confinement in captivity can seriously compromise the welfare and survival of all types of cetaceans by altering their behaviour and causing extreme distress,” said B.S. Bonal, the member secretary of the Central Zoo Authority of India. (Source:ENS)
Dolphins are some of the most admired animals in the world due to their intelligence and playfulness. However, one might argue that they have been ‘loved’ too much. It seems the best thing for dolphins is for humans to largely leave them alone. A incident in recent years at a dolphin tank in Switzerland resulting in at least one death prompted an investigation and banning of dolphin importation. With no new dolphins, the practice of using them for entertainment in Switzerland will die out.
What India did is much more assertive and shows a greater regard for dolphins. India is obviously a much larger country with a growing economy, so there might have been a significant market for dolphin-related consumer entertainment. Banning dolphin exploitation also seems to be more in accord with some of their cultural values, which to some extent have shown respect for the lives of animals.
Additionally, wild dolphins are not doing particularly well in India due to loss of habitat for human development and pollution fouling their waters. The Ganges may be sacred, but it is also a repository for much effluent.
Dolphin activists may have rejoiced at the news of the ban. At least one prominent dolphin advocate said the development was a huge win for dolphins.
You can do your part by refusing to pay the expensive entry fees for dolphin parks or other entertainment venues to exploit dolphins. Some have said such shows are educational, and they may convey some facts, but their main purpose is profits, not raising awareness.