Subject: whales and captivity

Leah R. Gerber (leah@fish.washington.edu)
Thu, 7 Aug 1997 16:30:13 -0700

At 06:17 PM 8/2/97 -0400, Kimberl555@aol.com wrote:
>Hi!  Im an animal rights activist....and I need some information regarding
>captive whales.  What I basically need to know is if you think it's ok to
>keep them captive...particularly in Aquariums.  I believe whales... dolphins
>and all marine life belongs in the ocean...unless it is injured or in need of
>rehabilitation...and then of course set free.  Can you please give me some
>information pertaining to this...anything would be helpful.
>
>Thanks for your time.....Kimberlee......

Hello Kimberlee,

I'm not sure I fully understand the question but will give this a shot :-)

People have different opinions regarding keeping animals in 
captivity.  There are pros and cons to examine in every situation, and
from a scientific standpoint, captive animals provide many answers to the
questions surrounding cetacean behavior and environmental biology that one
cannot obtain in the wild.  This information can then be used to assist in
the conservation of wild populations.  Another factor to consider when
advocating the release of captive marine mammal species is the educational
value these animals have for children who don't have the opportunity to
observe these animals in the wild.  There is a lot of information on this
subject that will present different view points.  A search of captive
survival literature search pertaining to captive survival will lead you to
more articles than you could ever want to read!  You could also look up
information on the species that commonly exist in captivity such as the
killer whale, bottlenose dolphin, common dolphin, beluga, pacific
white-sided dolphin, and the california sea lion.  I do not necessarily
agree with one side or the other, but complex problem such as this don't
always offer solutions that are black and white.  

Good luck, and have fun!

Leah