The Chicago Zoological Society, Brookfield Zoo (Bill Zeigler, Responsible Party) has applied for a permit to import three bottlenose dolphins for public display. Up to three captive born bottlenose dolphins would be imported from Dolphin Quest Bermuda to either the Brookfield Zoo in Brookfield, IL or Coral World Ocean Park in St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands. Help us ensure the United States is not taking part in the cruel business of dolphin transport.
Comments must be received by 11:59 p.m. ET on May 19, 2019, to be considered.
To: NMFS Chief, Permits and Conservation Division
Subject: File No. 22686 – No Dolphin Imports
Dear NMFS Chief,
I am writing to urge NMFS to reject Chicago Zoological Society’s permit for importing up to three bottlenose dolphins to Brookfield Zoo in Chicago or Coral World Ocean Park in St. Thomas.
Both Coral World and the Brookfield Zoo are unsuitable locations for any dolphin. Moving the dolphins to an indoor facility at the Brookfield Zoo after living their first few years in an outdoor sea pen would likely cause the dolphins a considerable amount of stress.
Water Bay, where Coral World is located, is so polluted that it failed to meet Clean Water Act standards in 2018 and was deemed unsafe for swimming approximately 40 percent of the time. This will surely have serious health consequences for dolphins living there. No animal should be forced to live in a filthy environment venue leaving them at severe risk for low welfare implications.
What’s more, dolphin sea pen enclosures in the Caribbean are at extreme risk from hurricanes and tsunamis and damage the environment, including coral reefs and mangroves.
Regardless of where the dolphins would be transferred to, this permit is premature and lacks precise information on factors that are central to dolphin welfare, including the time of year these dolphins will be transferred (important information needed to ensure the safety of the animals and workers during severe-weather seasons).
Additionally, research has found that bottlenose dolphins are six times more likely to die immediately after capture from the wild and transfer between facilities.
Simply put: dolphins don’t belong in captivity. No sea pen or tank could replicate the complex ocean environment dolphins need to thrive. Even the biggest tanks in the world represent just 0.0001% of the natural habitat range for a cetacean like a dolphin.
The global scrutiny against marine mammals in captivity is growing. The United States should be a leader in animal protection by ending its part in the live trade of these intelligent, sensitive animals.
A Concerned Dolphin Lover