A hopeful new future for captive whales and dolphins

Wednesday, 02 October 2019

Andy Bool, Head of the SEA LIFE Trust comments on today’s decision from global online tour operator TripAdvisor to ban the sale of ticket to any commercial facility that either breeds or imports cetaceans for public display.

“We are pleased with today’s news from TripAdvisor (and Viator) to join other major tour operators in stopping the sale of trips to attractions that have performing cetaceans. This decision represents a hopeful new future for captive cetaceans and one which supports our vision to offer those cetaceans still in captivity a new way of life.

The SEA LIFE Trust Beluga Whale Sanctuary is the world’s first open water sanctuary and the first dedicated sanctuary for beluga whales previously performing in captivity and unable to return to the wild. It is currently home to Little White and Little Grey, two female belugas who came from an aquarium in China. The aim of our sanctuary is to enhance the welfare of its residents, to advance our knowledge of these amazing animals through research and education and finally to support the protection of the wild populations, which are still (even today) being hunted and brought in to captivity.

Today’s decision by TripAdvisor highlights to those that hold cetaceans that there is a significant change in public perception of how these animals should be cared for and further supports our vision which is to show the industry that another, more suitable option, for these beautiful animals is there – and should be followed.

The welfare of those cetaceans in human care should be paramount, and up until now no one has provided a realistic alternative. By creating the world’s first and only such sanctuary, the SEA LIFE Trust has demonstrated that an alternative is not only possible but already a reality!

Our overarching vision is that by demonstrating the potential for open water sanctuaries we will inspire others to consider a different future for the cetaceans in their care. More specifically, Klettsvik Bay has space to accommodate more belugas and we hope that some of those other belugas currently in aquariums around the world will join Little White and Little Grey at the Sanctuary and experience the benefits of an enhanced life as a result.”