National Aquarium Plans Sanctuary for Their Dolphins



WASHINGTON DC, June 14, 2016: This morning, the National Aquarium in Baltimore announced plans to build a seaside sanctuary, either in Florida or the Caribbean, and to move all eight of the dolphins currently at the aquarium to the new sanctuary by 2020.

This is a major decision and the first of its kind by an aquarium or marine park in North America.

While The Whale Sanctuary Project is focused on creating a cold-water sanctuary, suited to orcas and belugas, the National Aquarium’s sanctuary will be a warm-water facility, one that’s best for bottlenose dolphins. Taken together, these two projects will show that there is an alternative for the three cetacean species most favored by theme parks and aquariums.

In an op-ed piece in the Baltimore Sun, John Racanelli, the aquarium’s chief executive officer, says:

Through feedback painstakingly gathered over 10 years, we have learned that the American public is increasingly uneasy with the notion of keeping dolphins and whales in captivity.

Dr. Lori Marino, President of The Whale Sanctuary Project, said:

In taking this major step forward, the National Aquarium is demonstrating a commitment to a new model for relating to dolphins and whales, one that transforms zoos and aquariums into centers of authentic advocacy, conservation, and public education and engagement.

The Whale Sanctuary Project has told the National Aquarium that as we pursue our own mission to create the first cold-water sanctuary, we will share any knowledge and insights that may be helpful to them, and will support their work in every other way we can.