The National Aquarium in Baltimore is set to release at least eight dolphins by the end of 2020, which marks the establishment of the first dolphin sanctuary in the country, and probably the world.
According to a report from the Washington Post, the release of the eight adult Atlantic bottlenose dolphins, whose ages range from 7-44 years, is the main highlight of the sanctuary’s launch. Since this will be the first of its kind in the world, the aquarium is clueless of how it’s going to roll.
“There’s no model anywhere, that we’re aware of, for this. We’re pioneering here, and we know it’s neither the easiest nor the cheapest option,” said National Aquarium chief executive John Racanelli as quoted by the Washington Post.
But Racanelli was quick to add that the dolphins would not simply be released into the open sea. Instead, they will be released in a vast area, probably in the Florida Keys and the Caribbean.
Apart from that, among the eight dolphins, only one of them was born in the wild, so it will be barred from mingling or breeding with the other wild dolphins. Racanelli said the aquarium plans to build a barrier to accomplish this. Since the aquarium ceased holding public shows since 2012, Racanelli said they have learned so much about how to take care of the dolphins.
Meanwhile, in a statement, the People for Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) has lauded the move of the National Aquarium to release the dolphins into the ocean where they can communicate and live in an environment closest to its natural habitat.
“Times have changed, and our understanding of the needs of the animals in our care has changed. A lot of very valid research has been done in the last 20 years to open our eyes to the cognitive and social behavior of dolphins,” PETA said in a statement.
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