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.

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

  1. 60 years in prison !, and she didn’t even do anything , existing was her crime ? 🙁 .. poor soul , i send all my love to her .

  2. Marineland and ALL aquariums , zoos and circuses should be shut down and outlawed.

  3. What a bunch of whiners. I went to the show and had a great time.

    • art, have you ever considered looking at the lives of animals from their perspective, not yours? Would you like to be Nellie? Would you enjoy 60 years imprisoned in small tanks, with your own echolocation bouncing painfully back at your brain from the concrete pools? Or would you rather swim freely, joyfully, and with your family pod in the wide open oceans?

      Has it ever occurred to you that maybe it’s time that the selfish human race puts aside our own self-centered pleasure for the sake of the ones entertaining us? Can we self-centered humans please get over ourselves and our own misguided feelings of superiority that lets us imprison these self-aware creatures who are equally as intelligent as us if not more so? Does it have to be all about you, having a “great time”?

    • Ok Art how about we put YOU in similar situation to Nellie where you are enslaved, living in an unnatural environment, made to do things that are unnatural to you and see how YOU like it!!

  4. Captive for life and forced to perform meaningless tricks, what a sad life. In some ways we are as domesticated and enslaved. Let the wild be wild!

  5. When I lived in South Carolina, I visited historic plantations from the pre-Civil War days, including the existing slave cabins. I will never forget standing in a slave cabin, imagining the humans in bondage who spent their whole lives working the plantation and existing in those tiny cabins. That experience pained me.

    We have since evolved past the point of human slavery, but not the slavery of our sentient, intelligent, self-aware friends with whom we share this earth. Dolphins, whales, elephants, and other animals do not deserve to be torn from their homes and families to live in tiny enclosures – which for them are NO different than those tiny cabins were for human slaves. Someday future generations will look back at what we do to animals and wonder what we were THINKING.

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