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Dolphins in captivity are deprived of everything that is natural and important to them.

Here are seven reasons why dolphins don’t belong at SeaWorld: 

1. Dolphins Are the ‘Einsteins’ of the Animal World

Dolphins are keenly intelligent and can solve complex problems. They have distinct personalities and a strong sense of self and can think about the future. SeaWorld uses this intelligence to train dolphins to perform cheap “tricks”.

2. Dolphins Need Their Freedom

In nature, dolphins swim vast distances every day with their extended families, exploring new places and seeking out adventures and pursuits. Dolphins at SeaWorld are confined to tiny tanks and see the same concrete walls every day of their lives. Dolphins navigate by echolocation, but in pools, the reverberations from their own sonar bounce off the walls.

3. Captivity Kills

Sixty-two bottlenose dolphins have died at SeaWorld parks in just 10 years—and 16 of those were stillborn babies. SeaWorld never figured out what killed three dolphins at its now-defunct Ohio park over the course of 11 days in March 2000. SeaWorld’s senior veterinarian said,

“We know the animals died from an inability to hold down or take in enough nutrition to survive. We still don’t know what actually caused the illness. We wish we understood.”

4. Cheap Tricks Cause Injuries

In 2008, Sharky, a captive dolphin at SeaWorld’s Discovery Cove, was fatally injured while performing an aerial trick. He collided in mid-air with another dolphin and subsequently died. And in 2012 at SeaWorld’s San Antonio facility, two dolphins performing a jumping trick crashed, ejecting one from the tank onto the concrete walkway below. The dolphin was bleeding and helpless as guests looked on.

5. Touch Tanks Are Trouble


Interactive programs that allow the public to pet, kiss, or even “ride” dolphins invade the animals’ already diminished worlds and are dangerous for the animals and human participants. Dolphins in “petting pools” can become neurotic and anxious as a result of constant poking and prodding and can become sick from exposure to bacteria. The U.S. Department of Agriculture has cited SeaWorld for several instances in which members of the public, including children, were bitten and injured at the facility’s dolphin-petting pools.

6. Families Are Left in Tatters

Dolphins communicate with each other through distinct whistles and body language. They live in pods and have their own family histories. The constraints of captivity deny dolphins their natural dynamics.

7. Captive Dolphins Are Stressed and Distressed

Captive dolphins demonstrate a variety of stress-driven behavior, including self-inflicted injuries, aggressiveness, and neurotic behavior. Dolphins are often dosed with antacids to treat stress-induced ulcers.

Learn more about cruelty at SeaWorld on The PETA Podcast:

Listen to more episodes on iTunes, Stitcher, and Spotify! Subscribe for new episodes.

You can help the dolphins imprisoned at SeaWorld by never visiting the theme parks and by sharing with your friends and family information on why they shouldn’t visit them, either.

You can also urge SeaWorld to implement a firm and rapid plan to release all the captive marine animals to sanctuaries today.


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