Changing the Tide for Dolphins featuring Ben Pearson, Head of Campaigns at World Animal Protection Australia

The wave of public opinion is shifting towards ending captive dolphin breeding.

Image Courtesy of Rochelle Flood, World Animal Protection Australia

The Head of Campaigns at World Animal Protection aims to ensure that the current generation of dolphins are the last to endure a lifetime in captivity.

Informing and Educating People

Animals are important to humans and we should do our best to live with them in harmony. We need to promote the humane treatment of animals and discourage cruel and abusive practices that are prevalent throughout the world. 

Effective animal advocacy begins with helping the world see why animals are important to us. Pearson emphasises that, “Ignorance is at the heart of our campaigning, we inform and educate individual people. We inform and educate travel companies about the reality of animal tourism.”

Raising Awareness of the Treatment of Dolphins

When asked what he would say to educate people about the treatment of animals in captivity, Pearson reveals that, “When I ask people how long a dolphin lives for, they say ‘10 years, 15 years maybe?’ Dolphins live for 50 years in captivity, which is something a lot of people don’t realise.” 

Dolphins in captivity are highly intelligent animals who live in small, chlorinated pools a world away from the wild. Dolphins in the wild have the freedom to engage in their natural behaviours; diving deeply, foraging, exploring and hunting for food. 

Image Courtesy of Rochelle Flood, World Animal Protection Australia

Pearson casts a light on the inhumane treatment of dolphins in captivity, “What‘s the worst thing we do to someone when they are guilty of the worst crime? We incarcerate them, we deny them their liberty.” 

“The idea that a dolphin could live for 50 years in a barren pool is shocking. That is essentially what we are doing to these dolphins at SeaWorld and they have committed no crime.” 

World Animal Protection is working to change the course for dolphins in captivity, beyond making individuals and travel companies aware of the risks dolphins face in captivity. 

The ingredient for bringing about long-term change, is encouraging marine parks to change their behaviour. 

Focus on Solutions

To make a transition away from dolphin captivity, World Animal Protection works directly with marine parks. This involves approaching them with their concerns and what they can do to make a change, getting their supporters to write to them and making an effort to speak to them. 

Pearson’s first campaign with World Animal Protection was encouraging Dolphin Marine Conservation Park, formerly known as Dolphin Marine Magic to better the lives of dolphins in captivity.

For Pearson, “It was an early victory, it yielded results and we have been building on that ever since.” 

Dolphin Marine Conservation Park in Coffs Harbour, formerly Dolphin Marine Magic

On Thursday the 14th of March, Dolphin Marine Conservation Park announced that it will end captive breeding at its Coffs Harbour location.

Pearson supports their decision, “Dolphin Marine Conservation Park has been great, we have been talking to them for two years now and they have decided to join us in investigating the feasibility of a sea sanctuary for their dolphins.”

A challenge that World Animal Protection is currently facing is ending captive dolphin breeding at Sea World, one of Australia’s largest captive dolphin venues. 

Sea World is the only remaining venue in Australia where captive dolphin breeding takes place.  

Sea World is yet to recognise that the acceptability of keeping dolphins in captivity is declining. World Animal Protection have reached out to them with no avail, “Sea World in the Gold Coast doesn’t respond to our letters, which is disappointing.”

World Animal Protection hopes to achieve a better future for captive dolphins at Sea World by mobilising support through campaigns and petitions.

An element which is integral to changing the practices of marine parks, is collaborating with other organisations to show the power of many. 

Communiteer Supports A Better Future for Dolphins

Communiteer values being a supporter of World Animal Protection and we join them on their mission to move the world to protect animals, while encouraging our supporters to influence Sea World via our online digital volunteering platform. 

We collaborate with World Animal Protection on our platform by creating a community of supporters for them, who can work together to further their cause.

To take meaningful action for dolphins in captivity, we invite you to sign World Animal Protection’s online petition to ensure the Queensland Government bans captive breeding at Sea World and begins working on a sea sanctuary for dolphins who can’t be released into the wild.

At Communiteer, we are proud signatories who hope that our actions can put animal protection on the global agenda.

Written by Annie Renouf, Content Writer at Communiteer

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