The Humane Society of the United States

Captive Marine Mammals

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Life for captive whales, dolphins, and other marine mammals is nothing like a life in the ocean. It is almost impossible to maintain a family group in captivity, a tragedy for whales and dolphins. When you see marine mammals in tanks or pools, consider what they have lost in order to entertain us.


Whales and dolphins swim long distances each day, sometimes in a straight line for 100  miles. Most seals and sea lions migrate hundreds of miles each year. How large is the average tank in a zoo or aquarium?

Dolphins are self-aware and capable of abstract thinking.  When captured from the wild, they are ripped violently and traumatically from their social units. Japan's drive fishery is a particularly cruel example, in which many dolphins are slaughtered alongside the so-called "lucky" ones, who are sold to dolphin display facilities.


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