The Horror of Dolphin Drive Hunts

By Brad Andrews, Chief Zoological Officer SeaWorld Entertainment, Inc. Several weeks ago the slaughter of dolphins in Taiji, Japan began again. Despite the outcry from wildlife conservation groups, the worldwide zoological community, and millions of ordinary people, the violent practice continues. Over the next six months hundreds of dolphins will be killed in Taiji alone. SeaWorld and most of the world’s zoos and aquariums, as well as accrediting bodies like the Association of Zoos and Aquariums and the Alliance of Marine Mammal Parks and Aquariums (AMMPA), have long opposed drive hunts. No animal from a drive hunt lives at SeaWorld. Even those organizations that once saved animals from certain death in the drive fishery – institutions like SeaWorld and the U.S. Navy – realized long ago that acquiring an animal through this means wasn’t consistent with our values as animal caretakers. The U.S. government also recognized the brutality of drive hunts and has prohibited live animals collected in this fashion from entering our country. And, in an encouraging development, the Japanese Association of Zoos and Aquariums (JAZA), recently announced that no JAZA institution could remain a member if they took into their collections live animals from drive hunts. Accredited zoos and aquariums like SeaWorld provide an opportunity to get close to dolphins, to learn about them, and we hope, to be inspired to conserve them. More than 80 percent of our dolphins were born in our parks. Many were born to parents and even grandparents who also were born in our parks. We take great pride in the care we provide for these remarkable animals and we are proud to share them with millions of people each year. Among the many resources for learning more about dolphins in human care and the threats like drive hunts that these animals face in the wild are the International Marine Animal Training Association and AMMPA. If you love dolphins and want to help preserve them for generations to come, we encourage you to learn as much as you can and to make your voices heard.

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