Tag Archives: Marineland



I hear your call to the water,
The roll and swish and wish of the mother
Not the decimated, chlorinated, death-indoctrinated stuff of this other
In a tank.

Made to suppress the life inside
Leaving the urge, the call, the jump for true joy behind
In some memory of a birthright
From a tank.

A thousand cuts upon your soul
A thousand children cheering the knife
That took away your life
In a tank.

What language you speak
We need not learn.
Merely another tool of the master
Of a tank.

Leave your boats on the shore
Leave us to the language of the sea
A million questions we can ask in the wild
Only a few
In a tank.

Can you see me at all
Can you hear my cry
Can you save my children
From a tank?

Nellie. February 27, 1953 - May 1, 2014

Nellie. February 27, 1953 – May 1, 2014

Nellie turns 60 in captivity, a “milestone” for Marineland’s “star”

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.

Nellie on her 58th birthday

Nellie turns 60 today and is the oldest living dolphin in captivity. Photo Credit: Marineland Dolphin Conservatory

Just say no to the dolphin show, and spare other dolphins, like Nellie or Kirara, from being considered a U.S. aquarium’s milestone.

As always, much gratitude to Ceta-base for compiling a database on the world’s marine mammals in captivity.

Which part of Marineland’s past is it celebrating, AJC?

Not surprisingly, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution has done yet another “news” report which should be in an “I love to swim with dolphins because they’re cuuuuuuuute” blog or on a newspaper’s Opinion page.  But instead, the AJC markets a story that the Georgia Aquarium wants you to believe.  Because the AJC, as some in Atlanta, including Gay Pride, are having a love affair with domination, control and ownership.

Nellie the world's oldest dolphin in captivity

Nellie, at 59 years old, born in captivity on February 27, 1953, is an anomaly in the captive dolphin industry due to her longevity.  She has seen a lot of dolphins die.

If it’s history we’re talking, here’s a history that the AJC, Marineland and the Georgia Aquarium (which owns Marineland) don’t publicize.  And because record-keeping in the marine mammal captivity industry, as well as the various government agencies that have been tasked with maintaining a marine mammal inventory, haven’t done a stellar job, the statistics are a bit like the tip of the iceberg.

On the basis of the best information we have, compiled by Ceta-base, here is part of Marineland’s history that the AJC didn’t bother telling you, or likely even researching.

                       Species                                             Number Died at Marineland

  • Beaked Whale  (all species)                                           4
  • Bottlenose Dolphin (Tursiops spp)                          149
  • Common Dolphin (Delphinus spp)                               1
  • Pilot Whale, short-finned (Glob. macro.)                  23
  • Risso’s Dolphin (Grampus griseus)                             2
  • Amazon River Dolphin (Inia geof.)                              8
  • Sperm Whale (dwarf & pygmy)                                    16
  • Spotted Dolphin (Atlantic & Pantropical)                  11
  • Striped Dolphin  (Stenella coer.)                                   1
  • White-sided Dolphin, Pacific (Lagen. obliq.)              2

And while Marineland has been doing some celebrating over time, I’m afraid that some of their celebrations have been short-lived.  There was the news report in the March 4, 1954, Sarasota Herald-Tribune, of Marineland (more honestly called Marine Studios in those days) having bred the first dolphin – or porpoise as both Marineland and the newspaper incorrectly identified her – to have been born to a captive-bred dolphin.  That is, both the mother dolphin named Spray, born on February 26, 1947, and the baby named Peggy were born in captivity.  That didn’t turn out well for baby Peggy.  She didn’t survive the year.  We’re not sure how long she lived.  We also know only that Spray also died, but not when.  Hopefully, Marineland knows.

Before she died, Spray had what appears to be at least five calves.  All appear to be dead.  How many of you mothers can make that claim?  Obviously, you wouldn’t want to.  But Spray had no choice.

Or maybe we can recall the newspaper article where Marineland celebrated the live capture, on January 9, 1964, of a pregnant dolphin.  It would appear that neither the baby nor the mother lived to see 1965.

In a world where one sees these dolphins as fungible property, or props for a dance party, well, these statistics or these examples may lose the sting that they merit.  In that world-view, you lose one, you get another just after you put on your sad face.  And get a newspaper to write another piece celebrating something.

But, in fairness, Marineland has learned a few things over its history.  I will grant them that.  They learned that a dolphin is not the same as a porpoise, or at least I think they learned that.  They also learned to be less than honest in describing what they do with the dolphins.  They used to come out and say that what they do is teach them tricks.  Tricks.  Jumping and splashing on command.  Various tricks.  Now, they like to tell you, oh, they reaaalllly like to tell you, especially during the trick show, that they only teach “behaviors”.  Balderdash.

They got it right the first time.

When folks stop supporting this horrid history by pledging to not go to the dolphin show, that will truly be something to celebrate.

Dolphins swimming free as they should be

Celebrate dolphins swimming free as they should be by not ever going to a dolphin show or swim-with.

Marineland’s Nellie keeps on ticking, at almost 59 years, a dolphin in captivity

So sad that Nellie the dolphin has lived the last 59 years, since February 27, 19stinking53 in captivity.  1953.

Have you lived in one room of one house all that time?  Were you even born in 1953?  I wasn’t.  Have you lived even your mere 21 or 25 or 35 years in one room of one house?

Can you think that thought?  Imagine that image?  59 years.

Nellie doesn’t have to try.  She has absolutely no choice.

To those of you who don’t think that Nellie should have a choice, I say, shame.

Dolphin Dance

This isn’t a new video, but the Women for Whales posted it on Facebook today.  And I’m so glad that I happened to see it.

Here’s what I saw.  I saw life at its purest, most self-expressed.  I saw freedom.  I saw play.  I saw love and family and glee.

This is what dolphins do when they are in control of their own lives.   They dance.  They hold hands.  They flap their fins in some kind of gleeful signal.  All in the wide open ocean.

Shame on the Georgia Aquarium, SeaWorld, Miami Seaquarium, Marineland, Resorts World Sentosa, and all dolphinaria and aquaria for capturing and enslaving a creature who deserves to be free and in control of his or her own life.

If something stirred in you, like a sense of your own freedom, and how precious it is to be free and fully self-expressed, please contact Save Japan Dolphins, the Oceanic Preservation Society, Free the Atlanta 11, Save Misty the Dolphin on Facebook or Saddest Dolphins.com (I’m sure there are many others, too) to find out how to make a difference in the lives of dolphins today, and forever.

Become part of a growing community that celebrates and demands self-determination and freedom for these extraordinary creatures.

Universal Sacredness of Life – Support the UDAR

Poster by Andy Beattie

Poster by Andy Beattie

Support the UDAR.  However you can. By voting. By considering.  By editing.  By signing the declaration.  By joining a local animal rights organization.  And a few international ones.  And maybe, if you’re lucky, it can be both for you.

But support it we must, in order to not die ourselves.

When even one species leaves the planet, the planet is changed, and so are we.  The Martha I am is, perhaps imperceptibly, changed by even one extinction. And so, because imperceptible with one, we think it will be so with two.  And three.  And three hundred.

At which extinction will the change be perceptible to the densest among us?  It already and certainly is among the most perceptive. I do not count myself among them.  I am aware only of the conceptual likelihood that this is so.

At which extinction do we acknowledge that we do not value the sacredness of life.  Where life will be a commodity to trade in for us all?  When my flesh is only so much protein on the market?

Now – you see, I don’t believe that that day will come. I believe that right now, we are waking up to the sacredness of life.  And that all life, if one’s own is to be truly and presently lived, is regarded with awe.  And respect.  And love.

Support the universal dignity of life; live in the awe of life; support the UDAR.


Poster by Andy Beattie

Poster by Andy Beattie

(For access to wonderful information about animal rights, thank you, Andy Beattie.)

A birthday wish for Nellie.

Daron Dean, The St. Augustiner Record

58 years.  The oldest of her kind.  In captivity, that is.  58 years living only in enclosures, tossing balls, retrieving Timex watches for commercials, performing in shows, producing offspring for more shows, giving blood “voluntarily,” being a swimming “lab.”  And the Georgia Aquarium and Marineland celebrate. They celebrate by creating a video for humans to watch.  Not for Nellie.  They get dogs and kids, her captive-born offspring, and employees from the Georgia Aquarium to say into the camera, with big smiles, “Happy Birthday, Nellie,” to the world’s oldest dolphin in captivity, so that you’ll come to Marineland and the Georgia Aquarium.

I feel certain that you will not be mislead by a video that might, with its cute soundtrack and birthday cake, sound and look like happiness to a 7-year-old.  We have actually grown up and developed the ability to think.  We can realize that the dolphin shows we loved as children bely an ugly truth – that these animals who were not made to entertain or be the object of captive research or breeding programs, are being used for precisely that.  You may understand that, but they are hoping that your 7-year-old sees the video, sees the birthday cake, hears the happy tune, and nags you until you agree to go.  To pay money that subsidizes dolphin capture and, yes, I’m going to say it, dolphin slaughter.

Just in case you’re wondering, what did they learn from Nellie to justify her 58 years in captivity?  “Other than routine medical checkups, no official scientific studies have been made and there is no clear explanation why Nellie has had such a long life.  There are many theories, ranging from Marineland’s filtration system to her diet.”  But now that she’s old, Marineland curator Kevin Roberts said, “Every day she is with us we are able to observe and gather more and more data about geriatric dolphins. She is our own swimming lab.”  More good birthday news for Nellie.

So here’s what I say to all who think that Nellie and other dolphins are here to satisfy something for us.  A dolphin was made for itself.  Not for us at all.  And here’s my belated birthday wish for Nellie, I wish your next life to be free.  Namaste, Nellie.

Wild Dolphins

Photo courtesy of Greenpeace

A wild dolphin is a beautiful thing, unless you’re Congressman Young (R), Alaska, or the head of the American aquarium and zoo organization, or someone who loves marine mammals soooooo much that they’ve given their lives to studying them in captivity, or a doctor-turned-Congressman who seems to understand the scientific method like no one else.  Luckily so for the rest of us, on that last count.

I’m not even halfway through an April, 2010 hearing on the educational value of dolphin shows, and it is already terribly disconcerting to hear our Washington leadership dance on the fence rail of whether there is any merit that outweighs the personal and species cost of keeping these magnificent animals in captivity.  While their captive life spans are a fraction of what it is in the wild, their shortened lives should not be being someone’s “trained seal.”  Ar ar ar ar ar.

The hearing is quite long, but chocked full of information and possibly misinformation.  But I’ve edited down the entire hearing to 30 seconds that I consider to be the crux of the chasm between those who celebrate the rights of other species to living lives unharrassed by and independent of any human-referenced definition, on the one hand, and those who view animals as being here largely, if not exclusively, to serve humans, on the other.

Cong. Young doesn’t appear to want people  to “let” dolphins “run around loose and wild. . .”  I do.  That is exactly what I want.