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Health matters most in the process to free the dolphins from the zoo

17/09/2017 - 12:14

Over a hundred experts took part in the international seminar on captive dolphins held in Barcelona, between them concluding that the most important consideration in the process to free marine mammals is their health. Agreement was also reached over the importance of establishing a protocol on monitoring animals released from captivity.

The three day meeting was entitled ‘Bottlenose dolphin workshop – An overview of studies, alternatives and criteria to be considered when a captive facility closes’. It brought together international experts to explain their studies on the bottlenose dolphin population in the Mediterranean, programmes to monitor animals from zoos and aquariums and participatory projects relating to their conservation. Alternatives were also presented for dolphin populations which have been in captivity for long periods.

The participants agreed that the most important considerations are the animals’ health and a proper monitoring process, rather than the immediate availability or characteristics of where they live. It is also necessary to guarantee appropriate support and an accurate evaluation of their welfare and health. All the conclusions from the meeting will be summed up in a protocol with steps to follow, regulations, alternatives and decision-making processed for cities who no longer wish to keep captive dolphins.

The seminar, which included speeches, working sessions and a visit to the zoo, formed part of the series of actions being organised in Barcelona since the city declared itself free of captive dolphins in 2016.