News from the Natural World: Booming Chinese aquariums offer captive Dolphins & Orca a fresh new level of hell.
In the 1950s and 60s, numerous zoos were established in China, including the famous zoos in Shanghai, Chengdu, Chongqing, Guangzhou and Kunming, as well as numerous smaller zoos in the People’s Parks. The next wave of foundations came in the 90s. With over 40 institutions, including the first ocean parks, set up. But the big upswing has taken place since the beginning of this century: more than 100 new zoos and huge ocean parks have been opened and more will follow in the next years.
This growth has led to a terrifying new reality awaiting the Dolphins and Orca of the world. For you see it was only in the last decade that humans from the western world realised that keeping huge ocean-going mammals in small tanks might be a bit cruel. In fact, like with most things the humans didn’t believe it until they had seen it in the movies. Namely in Free Willy and Blackfish. This prompted a huge backlash against the most infamous of all whale torturers, SeaWorld.
Fresh New Level of Hell
But China’s confinement of whales and dolphins continues to thrive despite constant opposition. We decided to dive into this world and uncovered the horrific abuse and neglect of marine animals. Currently, there are no national laws against mistreating animals, an omission which undoubtedly contributes to the health and quality of life problems for the animals in the over 60 marine parks in China. In order to supply China’s aquariums, the wild cetacean capture industry is also booming.
According to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES), thirteen Russian orcas were captured between 2013 and 2016. Neither Russia nor China has local governmental regulations to monitor the trade, and the nonexistent welfare standards leave the orcas vulnerable to significant abuse and neglect during transportation. We managed to secure an interview with Olga the Orca to get her side of the story.