Some of Marineland’s statements in its celebration of Nellie’s 60 years in captivity ring true, because they reveal the aquarium industry’s lack of appreciation that captivity for a marine mammal is nothing to celebrate:
Such a milestone, and we can’t be happier for her, for us, and for the marine mammal community.
Here are other milestones, in addition to her honorary Masters of Science degree in Marine Biology, that Nellie may recall during her time at Marineland, in addition to being the star of those TV shows and commercials that Marineland seems to think is a feather in Nellie’s birthday hat.
Death or removal of both parents:
- Susie, Nellie’s mother, was wild-caught in 1949, and died on September 22, 1962, when Nellie was just nine years old
- Happy, Nellie’s father, wild-caught in 1946, was released on November 15, 1956, when Nellie was three
Deaths of siblings:
- Mitch, Nellie’s half-brother, who died on an unknown date
- Mamie, Nellie’s half-sister, born February 7, 1953, and died in June, 1953
- Peggy, Nellie’s half-sister, who was born and died in 1954
- Rollie, Nellie’s half-sibling (sex unknown), who was born and died in 1955
- Nellie’s unnamed half-sister, born March 21, 1956, and died (date unknown)
- Perky, Nellie’s full-sister, who was born when Nellie was three, on May 15, 1956, and died on an undisclosed/unknown date
- Algae, Nellie’s older half-sister, who was born May 8, 1949, and died when Nellie was three, on April 5, 1957
Deaths of children:
- June, Nellie’s daughter, who was born and died in June of 1968.
- Nellie’s unnamed 10-day-old daughter, who was born November 24, 1989, and died on December 4, 1989
- June III, Nellie’s daughter, who was born June 28, 1978, and died on March 2, 1994
- Nellie’s unnamed 10-day old daughter, who was born August 16, 1992, and died on August 26, 1992
Nellie has seen scores of other dolphins die at Marineland, so one could appreciate why Nellie and I and many in the “marine mammal community” agree with another of Marineland’s spokesmen, when he states in his celebratory remarks, that “Being sixty years old at a marine park such as Marineland is just, just amazing.”
It is not a happy task to remind us all that Nellie has weathered a lifetime of birth and death in a concrete tank, but remains a resolute survivor on this, her 60th birthday.
So, hats off to you, Nellie. You are neither a milestone nor a feather in anyone’s cap, or birthday hat, save your own.
As always, much gratitude to Ceta-base for compiling a database on the world’s marine mammals in captivity.