Dolphin captivity is not cool: wild-caught dolphins in the United States

According to Ceta-base (marvelous database), there are 39 facilities (including the U.S. Navy) in the United States that maintain captive dolphins.  After this morning’s only-1/3-cup-of-coffee-full effort to count the number of wild-caught dolphins,

There are more than 100 wild-caught (not counting wild-rescued) dolphins held in captivity in the United States, only counting the facilities on this list.

SeaWorld dolphin captivity

Disgusting excuse for a human “vacation”

I have more adding to do, and again, I did not include the “rescued” dolphins, but this should be enough for now.

  1. U.S. Navy has 32 wild-caught dolphins (who also, like the Georgia Aquarium, likes to compare dolphins and dogs), 53560 Hull Street, San Diego, CA 92152-5001 Tel: (619) 553-2717
  2. The Georgia Aquarium has 1 wild-caught dolphin (unless you include the other facility they own, Marineland), 225 Baker Street, Atlanta, GA 30313 Tel: (404) 581-4000
  3. Marineland has 4 wild-caught dolphins, including Nellie, who has survived almost 59 years in captivity, a Georgia Aquarium company, 9600 Oceanshore Boulevard, St. Augustine, FL 32080 Tel: (904) 471-1111 or (877) 933-3402 Fax: (904) 460-1330
  4. Dolphin Quest has 4 wild-caught dolphins, 425 Waikoloa Beach Drive, Waikoloa, HI 96738, Tel: 808.886.2875 Fax: 808.886.7030
  5. Indianapolis Zoo has 4 wild-caught dolphins, 1200 West Washington Street, Indianapolis, IN 46222 Tel: (317) 630-2001
  6. SeaWorld Orlando has 4 wild-caught dolphins, 7007 Sea World Drive, Orlando, FL 32821 Tel: (888) 800-5447
  7. SeaWorld San Diego has 4 wild-caught dolphins, 500 SeaWorld Drive, San Diego, CA 92109 Tel: (800) 25-SHAMU (74268) Tell me THAT’S not disgusting!
  8. Brookfield Zoo has 2 wild-caught dolphins, c/o Chicago Zoological Society, 3300 Golf Road, Brookfield, IL 60513 Tel: (708) 688-8000
  9. Miami Seaquarium has 3 wild-caught dolphins, 4400 Rickenbacker Causeway, Key Biscayne, FL 33149 Tel: (305) 361-5705
  10. Mirage Hotel has 2 wild-caught dolphins, 3400 Las Vegas Boulevard South, Las Vegas, Nevada 89109 Tel: (702) 791-7111  (that’s a great place for a dolphin tank)
  11. Long Marine Laboratory has 2 wild-caught dolphins, 100 Shaffer Rd., Santa Cruz, CA 95060 Tel: (831) 459-2883 Fax: (831) 459-3383
  12. Six Flags Discovery Kingdom has 4 wild-caught dolphins, 1001 Fairgrounds Dr., Vallejo, CA 94589  Tel: (707) 644-4000
  13. Discovery Cove has 7 wild-caught dolphins (A SeaWorld Company), 6000 Discovery Cove Way, Orlando, FL 32821 Tel: 1-877-557-7404
  14. Dolphin Connection has 1 wild-caught dolphin, 61 Hawk’s Cay Boulevard, Duck Key, Fl 33050  Tel: 1-888-251-3674
  15. Dolphins Plus has 4 wild-caught dolphins, 31 Corrine Pl., Key Largo, FL, 33037 Tel: (866) 860-7946
  16. Theater of the Sea has 4 wild-caught dolphins, 84721 Overseas Hwy,Islamorada, FL 33036 Tel: 305.664.2431 Fax: 305.664.8162
  17. John G. Shedd Aquarium has 4 wild-caught dolphins, 1200 S. Lake Shore Drive, Chicago, IL 60605 Tel: (312) 939-2438
  18. SeaWorld of Texas has 4 wild-caught dolphins, 10500 SeaWorld Drive, San Antonio, TX 78251 Tel: (800) 700-7786
  19. Sea Life Park, Oahu, has 8 wild-caught dolphins, 41-202 Kalanianaole Highway #7, Waimanalo, Hawaii 96795 USA Tel:(808) 259-2500
  20. The Institute for Marine Mammal “Studies” has 2 wild-caught dolphins, P.O. Box 207 Gulfport, MS 39502 Tel: 228-896-9182 Fax: 228-896-9183
  21. Dolphin “Research” Center, where you can swim with dolphins and have “as well as other fun chances to touch a dolphin”, has 3 wild-caught dolphins, 58901 Overseas Highway, Grassy Key, FL 33050-6019 Tel:(305) 289-1121 Fax:(305) 743-7627
  22. Minnesota Zoo has 1 wild-caught dolphin, 13000 Zoo Boulevard, Apple Valley, MN 55124 Tel: (952) 431-9200 (800) 366-7811
  23. Gulf World has 2 wild-caught dolphins, 15412 Front Beach Road, Panama City, FL 32413 Tel: (850) 234-5271 Fax: (850) 235-8957

C’mon folks.  Keep those cards, letters and calls coming.  Tell them that

  • you will not visit their facility,
  • you would like to see their research or library of others’ research on retraining dolphins for release to the wild (seriously – it is high time that we ask them to demonstrate that they have or are seeking knowledge about this), and
  • you just signed a pledge not to go see a dolphin show


Dolphin captivity

Wouldn’t it be grand if we restored them to freedom?

4/16/13: Correction: Reader correctly pointed out that Nellie was born in captivity; I know this, mayhap I had Shaka on my mind, as I often do!

4 responses to “Dolphin captivity is not cool: wild-caught dolphins in the United States

  1. Nellie was born at Marineland

    • You are correct. I just now made an in-post correction. My other blog posts about Nellie specifically acknowledge that her entire life has been in captivity. As I state in the correction, I likely had Shaka on my mind, who is wild-caught, and now housed at the Georgia Aquarium, which also owns Nellie.

  2. I’d like to know exactly where the dolphins that were taken from the wild originate. The annual blood bath in Taiji, Japan? a 6-month period of dolphins being driven into a small cove and either taken to be captive or slaughtered. Will look into it.

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