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Bid to End Dolphin Captivity


Former premier backs proposal to eliminate dolphins kept in captivity…

Former Premier Bob Carr, along with 85,000 supporters have backed a bid to end dolphin captivity in the state of NSW. The Dolphin Advocacy group appeal to the current premier of NSW, Mike Baird, launched at the beginning of April and has since then received cross-party support.

Mr Bob Carr, who was also environment minister in the 1980s, noted how intelligent these marine mammals were, commenting on their outstanding cognitive abilities. Mr Carr said in support of the appeal, “those two words, dolphins and captivity, don’t sit happily together.”

Dolphins are amongst the smartest creatures on this planet. They are one of the most playful animals in the world, which is linked to the greatest communication of intelligence. The brain aptitude levels of a dolphin come extremely close to that of a human, which has been backed up by a sufficient amount of research including MRI scans.

In 2015, a study revealed dolphins have more neocortical neurons than any other mammal, including us humans. Dolphins are also voluntary breathers, which means they must consciously open and close their blowholes in order to breathe. While sleeping, dolphins only sleep one hemisphere of their brain and have the other one left alert. This explains the large size and capacity of their brains.

In the dolphin parks that remain opened in NSW, dolphin deaths have not been widely publicised. A few weeks ago, SBS uncovered a young dolphin in captivity that died last year after ingesting pieces of metal, leaves and sticks. This formed an ulcer in the dolphin’s belly resulting in it’s death.

In the wild, dolphins swim up to 160 kilometers a day, but in captivity they are deprived of this freedom. It has been proved that dolphins and other animals bred and kept in captivity result in a much lower life expectancy. Animals which have high cognitive abilities, such as dolphins, also suffer from various types of mental illness including depression and PTSD.

The Animal Justice Party as well as the NSW Greens have both backed the legislation. The bill to put an end to dolphin captivity in Australia has also gained the attention of British comedian and actively outspoken animal rights activist, Ricky Gervais. The UK has abolished dolphin captivity and he encourages Australia to do the same.