Animal rights activists’ demonstration calls for closure of Tampere dolphinarium
Särkänniemi attraction regards move into the wild as an impossible idea
After several dormant years, the animal rights activists have once again taken aim against the Särkänniemi Dolphinarium.
In a Saturday demonstration in the city of Tampere, the activists demanded the closing of the attraction.
In the protesters' view the dolphinarium should be shut down and its inhabitants released back into the wild. Around 40 people took part in the event organised in downtown Tampere.
The Särkänniemi Dolphinarium is a home for five dolphins, two of the oldest of which were born in the late 1970s.
In the 1990s, two dolphins that were born in the pool have managed to stay alive. Many more have died soon after birth or have been stillborn.
Most recently the attraction made the headlines in September, when a dolphin calf that was born there survived only for nine days. The cause of death was a congenital heart defect.
One of the organisers of the demonstration, Maria Lahtinen from the animal welfare group Oikeutta eläimille (“Justice for Animals”), says that the dolphins should be released into the wild in stages. The first stage would be a seawater pool, in which the animals would be closely monitored.
“Of course it would be expensive, but there might be international organisations interested in backing such an undertaking. The expenses could also be covered through donations”, she says.
The demonstrator’s reasoning for the closing of the attraction is that dolphins are intelligent and sociable animals. Keeping them in captivity causes them stress. In the dolphinarium they are confined to a small tiled pool, whereas in the wild dolphins exist in large packs, swim tens of kilometres per day, and dive to depths of hundreds of metres.
Timo Rahunen, the director of the Dolphinarium, does not share the activists’ optimism with regard to releasing the animals into the ocean.
“My view is that these animals can never be released into the wild. The oldest ones have been here for decades, and two of them were born here. The idea of these dolphins being able to adapt into living in the wild is an impossible one”, Rahunen said on Saturday.
“Similar operations have been carried out before, with poor results.”
Previously in HS International Edition:
Bottlenose dolphin calf dies in Tampere (16.9.2010)
Bottlenose dolphin gives birth to calf in Tampere (8.9.2010)
Särkänniemi dolphins shun new pool (27.4.2007)