Après quelques années de sommeil dues à sa mise en page obsolète, le site Dauphins Libres, créé en 1997, revient sur la ligne de front des combats.
Entièrement rénové tant dans la forme que dans le contenu, Dauphins Libres et Dauphins Captifs est désormais consultable sur n’importe quel support (PC, smartphone, tablette) et via Twitter et Facebook.
C’est là que vous trouverez désormais l’actualité des cétacés captifs en ligne, mais aussi bien d’autres sujets relatifs aux animaux non-humains.
Merci de votre fidélité.
«Depuis 1991, la société Zoomarine mène avec succès un programme de reproduction sous l’œil vigilant de dresseurs et de biologistes hautement qualifiés. Tous étaient présents à la naissance, qui a eu lieu dans la matinée du lundi 16 Juin 2014.
Sam est né des œuvres de la delphine Luna, née au Boudewijn Seapark en Belgique, et de Dino, un dauphin mâle né à Kolmarden en Suède. Ce sont deux parcs marins avec qui Zoomarine coopère au niveau institutionnel et scientifique. La première apparition publique du bébé a été un tel évènement qu’il a été couvert par les chaînes d’information nationales RTP, SIC et TVI « .
Voilà pour la propagande, dûment relayée comme on peut le lire, par les médias portugais.
Venons-en à présent aux faits :
– Luna est la fille de Roxanne et de Tex (mort au Marineland d’Antibes à 30 ans).
Elle est née sous la coupole du delphinarium de Bruges le 3 décembre 1996, avant d’être séparée très jeune de sa maman et déportée au delphinarium du Zoomarine Portugal le 5 janvier 2001.
De là, elle fut expédiée avec son frère Marco (né en 1998) vers Zoomarine Italie à Rome en 2005 avant de revenir une nouvelle fois au Portugal en 2008. Comme chacun sait, les dauphins adorent voyager en camion et Luna n’en fut pas privée !
Luna eut eu un premier enfant, Bio, né en 2010 des oeuvres de Sam I, le plus vieux dauphin captif mâle au monde, puisque décédé le 16 Février 2011 à l’âge de 50 ans.
Aujourd’hui, elle a donné naissance à son second fils, Sam II, dans les bassins du petit delphinarium portugais.
Le jeune Sam II serait donc un dauphin de la troisième génération, issu de deux nés captifs, un fait assez exceptionnel que pour être souligné. A ce titre, sa santé risque d’être extrêmement fragile. Au fil des générations, en effet, ces dauphins privés de mouvements, de stimulations, de vie sociale, bourrés de médicaments et nourris au poisson mort, deviendront de plus en plus faibles, de moins en moins capables de se reproduire. Leur temps de vie risque d’être bref.
Comme pour les éléphants, l’élevage en captivité est une impasse pour les cétacés. On ne fabriquera jamais un « dauphin domestique », dont rêvaient dès les années 60 les exploitants de cirques aquatiques et les militaires ela US Navy. Même les chevaux doivent encore être débourrés et les éléphants dressés dès la naissance.
– Roxanne, qui vient de perdre ses bébés Bruce puis Origi à un an d’intervalle, ne saura jamais qu’elle est devenue grand-mère pour la seconde fois.
En mer, toute la tribu aurait fêté cela ! Si Roxanne vivait encore libre, elle serait sans doute même devenue arrière grand-mère et se serait fait un bonheur de prendre soins de ses petits-enfants. Elle aurait formé sa fille au rôle de matriarche, tandis que de temps à autre, son fils Marco serait venu lui rendre visite.
Les sociétés dauphins sont de type fission-fusion. On se quitte, on se retrouve mais on ne se perd jamais de vue.
Cathy a aujourd’hui 48 ans. Elle vit libre dans la baie de Sarasota et jouit du bonheur d’être arrière-arrière-grand-mère, entourée de toute sa marmaille ! Rien de pareil en bassin, où mère et enfants sont séparées à jamais.
Pour ce qui est de Luna, elle ne sait rien de tout cela, bien sûr. Elle n’a jamais connu que la vie en bassin fermé, dont on fait le tour en deux coups de caudale. Quand elle donne naissance à un enfant, ce ne sont ni sa mère ni la marraine du petit qui l’accompagnent. Une fois placée en isolement, ce sont des humains qui se sont chargés d’elle.
La première chose que le petit Sam a vu en sortant de son ventre, ce sont les murs nus d’un bassin. La première chose qu’il ait entendu, ce sont les bruits de fêtes foraines alentour, et non les joyeux bavardages d’une tribu de 150 personnes et le son du ressac sur le sable marin. La première chose qu’il apprendra, ce sera à se produire en public, à faire des tours pour amuser les foules et à se laisser chatouiller par des centaines d’humains gluants d’huile solaire qui pataugeront dans sa piscine.
Ce n’est pas là une vie de dauphin : c’est une vie de clown et une vie d’esclave.
– Les dauphins Tursiops n’ont nul besoin de «programmes de reproduction». Ils se reproduisent bien mieux en liberté. La seule et unique raison de ces accouplements programmés par l’homme est la nécessité de maintenir en fonction une industrie du spectacle florissante, sans recourir à des captures, puisqu’elles sont (pour l’instant) toujours interdites en Europe. Mais un bébé dauphin qui naît, c’est 60% de bénéfices en plus, au bas mot.
En outre, si l’on considère l »ensemble des dauphins actuellement détenus dans le monde, seule une minorité d’entre eux sont nés de parents captifs (et bien moins encore de deux parents nés captifs. Le delphinarium de Bruges n’est jamais parvenu à réaliser cette prouesse !).
La plupart ont été kidnappés en mer, car c’est plus simple et moins cher de se fournir au Japon ou en Russie que de développer une surveillance sanitaire de tous les instants pour garder en vie des avortons dans de l’eau chlorée.
– Et c’est là, finalement, que réside tout le problème : en affichant leurs succès commerciaux et leurs époustouflantes cotations en bourse, les delphinariums d’Europe et des USA encouragent le développement d’une industie autrement criminelle.
Sans le Zoomarine, sans le delphinarium de Bruges, sans SeaWorld, sans ce business qui fascinent tant les hommes d’affaires d’Asie et du Moyen-Orient, il n’y aurait pas de massacres à Taiji.
On notera que les bases de données ne s’accordent pas sur les noms et le nombre de dauphins actuellement présents au Zoomarine Portugal. Cetacean Cousins déclaire que Marco, le frère de Luna, s’y trouve toujours, alors que Ceta base le place en Italie.
Ces deux sites font comme nous : ils tentent d’obtenir des données sur base d’une série de documents, de photos et de témoingnages. C’est sans doute là le plus grand scandale des delphinariums en Europe : l’absence d’un registre officiel européen semblable au Marime Mammal Inventory Report des USA.
Dans ces conditions, tous les transferts, toutes les morts, toutes les naissances peuvent être dissimulées au public et les réglements de la CITES allégrement foulés au pied. Le Portugal a importé depuis Cuba ou la Floride quantité de dauphins de manière illégale, bien après la mise en application des réglements CITES. Mais allez donc le prouver !
Le Ligueur lance aujourd’hui un concours qui permettra à des familles de 4 personnes d’aller voir d’autres familles psychiquement détruites au delphinarium de Bruges.
Le Ligueur est le journal de la Ligue des Familles, une honorable organisation belge qui « défend des propositions politiques de soutien à la parentalité, encourage des solidarités collectives entre citoyenparents et permet des échanges d’expériences individuelles de parents ». Nul doute qu’elle ne s’applique à cette mission avec zèle et efficacité.
La delphine Roxanne et son bébé seront certainement les vedettes de cette belle visite offerte par Le Ligueur.
Quel spectacle émouvant ! Quelle tendre maman ! Quel mignon delphineau !
Mais sait-on que Roxanne fut arachée à sa famille dans le Golfe du Mexique en 1988, qu’elle a vu ses frères mourir l’un après l’autre après la capture et que d’innombrables grossesses lui ont été imposées, années après années, car « quand un dauphin naît, cela veut dire que les dauphins sont heureux » mais surtout qu’ils font grimper le chiffre d’affaires.
Roxanne a aussi vu mourir Flo, sa fille bien-aimée décédée à 13 ans en 2010. Elle a vu partir à jamais ses enfants Gorki, Luna et Marco, expédiés vers d’autres prisons aquatiques. Elle a perdu Iggy, Simo, puis ses jumeaux en 2011 et enfin Bruce, mort à l’âge de 3 jours en 2012.
Quant au bébé qui vient de naître, s’il survit, il finira à son tour par être expédié à jamais loin de sa mère. Chez les dauphins libres comme chez nous, les contacts familiaux persistent toute la vie et les mères font le deuil de leur enfant mort…
NOTE 3 juin 2014 : le petit dauphin est mort au bout d’une semaine.
Comment la Ligue des Familles peut-elle encourager un tel spectacle ? Des dauphins blêmes, malades, drogués, souvent inséminés et maintenus toute leur vie sous un dôme dans une piscine chlorée d’où l’on ne voit le soleil qu’à travers des vitres ?
Comment peut-elle encourager une industrie esclavagiste qui désinforme systématiquement les enfants sur la vraie nature des dauphins et leur fait croire qu’ils sont de gentils toutous saluant de la nageoire ?
Une organisation aussi soucieuse de parentalité devrait proposer au contraire les voyages éco-responsables, où des familles humaines pourraient s’émerveiller du bonheur d’autres familles cétacées, nageant libres et joyeuses dans un océan sans limite.
Les opérateurs de whale-watching respectueux, animés par des scientfiques, ne manquent pourtant pas en Europe, tout près de chez nous. Voilà un beau cadeau de concours que la Ligue aurait pu offrir !
Les dauphins sont des êtres sensibles et supérieurement intelligents. Ils aiment leurs enfants autant que nous et leurs liens familiaux sont d’une intensité extrême.
Merci à la Ligue de respecter cela à l’avenir !
Dix bonnes raisons de ne pas aller dans un delphinarium :
Les dauphins ne jouentpas au ballon !
The Boudewijn Seapark opens in Bruges in 1972.
At the time, dolphins are considered like “the” new American attraction that can bring a lot of money quickly. Dolphinaria open all over Europe.
Harderwijk (in The Netherlands) is the first to dig ponds in 1962. While Marineland in Antibes (France) orders its orcas from SeaWorld, while England multiplies small structures filled with young and sick cetaceans and while the Duisburg Zoo starts its sinister massacre. Belgium won’t take much time to follow.
The first dolphinarium was born in 1968 in Mellen in Flanders. Maupertuus Park – that’s his name – brought 5 dolphins back from Florida. Only two of them are still alive when the plane lands, one mother and her child, which will rapidly die too.
On the 17th of December 1969, the Antwerp Zoo opens its new facility, this time for “scientific” purposes. The zoo orders its first victims in Florida. Jerry Mitchell and James Tiebor are its main suppliers for dolphins, dolphins that they capture in the Gulf of Mexico. From the beginning, it’s a massacre. At least 30 dolphins will perish.
A dolphinarium also opens in the “Plaine de la Sarte”, in Huy, in 1977.
Like Bruges, it is here also a sort of Walloon branch of Harderwijk. Two dolphins of the company are sent to these very small basins (10 meters long and 1,5 meter deep). But commercial success does not come. Harderwijk then takes back Jasperina, the last surviving dolphin, in its facilities in Bruges in 1978. The site is now called “Mont Mosan” and only exhibits sea lions and parrots.
Between 1976 and 1984, dolphins were also exhibited in a 6 degrees water in the Walibi Park in Wavre. They were called Boy, Leo, Missy, Kiki, Niky, Nemo and Girl. Some of them had been captured in Taiwan. They all died miserably.
Then the folly falls down again. The fashion for dolphinaria gradually loses its appeal in the nineties, with the closure of all the English sites and of the dolphinarium of the Antwerp Zoo in 1999, under the pressure of the activists. The dolphinarium of Bruges, however, still holds and is enthusiastically supported by the local politicians. They all mention the “well-being” of its residents, but especially the economic interests of such an attraction in terms of employment.
Managers of this park (under a dome), that is one of the last dolphinaria in Europe that deprives its dolphins from light and fresh air, can therefore regularly tell lies in the columns of our main newspapers, and affirm without a laugh that their dolphins live much longer in captivity and breed pretty well. No one dares to contradict them. So it is time to tell, here, how the Boudewijn Seapark was built, on a mountain of corpses…
From 1972 to 2009, the Boudewijn Seapark imported wild dolphins from Florida and probably the Caribbean, through his Dutch counterpart, the Harderwijk Dolphinarium, or through the “Dolfirado” in Stein (Limburg). In only one case, as we will see below, the Boudewijn Seapark received its dolphins directly from its supplier, without them going first through Harderwijk.
In this regard, the dolphinarium of Bruges bears a heavy responsibility.
The dolphins in the Gulf of Mexico have indeed paid very expensive this “Flippermania” outbreak, that all the emerging countries are now discovering, from Asia to Africa.
Between 1960 and 1993, more than 1600 marine mammals have been taken from the U.S. waters for the local and the international market. In the early nineties, a terrible epidemic has decimated the dolphins in the Gulf, and the USA had to prohibit all the commercial catches in 1993. This was also because the catches for the dolphinaria were finishing to deplete the populations…
Since then, Western aquatic circuses are forced to stick to breeding farms. Some dolphinaria succeed (with a relative success). But the births are insufficient and the life of these dolphins is too short to ensure the viability of a genetically healthy population on the long term. This will require new captures one day.
Roxanne, 3 missed births in 2 years
Unlike Antwerp Zoo, which makes no secret of its archives, Boudewijn Seapark never mentions the period between 1972 and 1988, during which the dolphinarium took part, with his Dutch accomplices, to the depopulation of the Gulf of Mexico.
The park even does everything to erase the past. For example, on the signs mentioning the six captive dolphins at the entrance of the dome, the name of Tex does not even appear. Yotta, Indy and Ocean, 3 only dolphins that were born captive and that are still alive, simply have no father.
Many researches are therefore needed to trace back the path of the cetaceans of Bruges. And this path remains incomplete, fragmentary, sometimes censored. The more we find clues on the true story of the dolphins in Bruges, the more the skein of the incessant transactions between the 6 Dutch dolphinaria and the 4 Belgian dolphinaria, under the leadership of Harderwijk, becomes difficult to unknot. The story of our 3 last dolphins founders in Bruges is very tumultuous, dramatic and confused.
The “Marine Mammal Inventory Report”, responsible for recording all the exports from the U.S.A., mentions that 3 big bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops truncatus) arrived in Bruges in 1974. No other animal is mentioned before that.
This is curious. Because there had to be at least ONE dolphin for the opening of the dolphinarium in 1972! Several dolphins have thus lived at the dolphinarium during these first two years (1972-1974) without anyone remembering them. Their arrival in Belgium is nowhere mentioned, nor their death, in official documents. But there are traces…
In 1972, Dr. W.H. Dudok Van Heel, sent by the company Harderwijk BV, conducted a scientific investigation about the frequent and early deaths amongts the dolphins that his company imports, stands, keeps or distributes.
The author of this study obviously does not attribute these rapid deaths to the despair linked to containment – the dolphins arrive shortly after their capture, still shocked – but to a too high level of mercury in their blood. Van Heel mentions some of the dolphins present in Belgium.
During the winter of 1970-1971, he says, we helped build the Boudewijn Seapark. « To be able to fill the basins with dolphins “proper to educate the public”, we brought four freshly caught dolphins: Allan, a young adult male; Yogi, a juvenile male in poor health; Kiana, a young adult female; and Sherry, a juvenile female ».
A table is presented, which shows the distribution of this global purchase (22 dolphins) for four dolphinaria (Bruges, Harderwijk, Rotterdam and Zandvoort).
« All these dolphins were captured by Milton Santini in Marco Island, southwest Florida, except four of them, captured by James Tiebor. Animals delivered to Sweden (Kolmarden) were captured by Jerry Mitchell in Key Largo ». Jerry Mitchell was already providing the Antwerp Zoo. He was sentenced later for illegal catches in the Bahamas.
The dolphins chosen for shows in Bruges are, however, not those that have just been imported (Allan, Kiana and the others). You have there Milly and Sanny, two adult females perfectly tamed and healthy.
You have George and James, two young males also pre-tamed and whose health is improving. These dolphins belong to the Harderwijk dolphinarium but they travel from one dolphinarium to the other quite frequently. They are often moved at the time. Street aquatic circuses also travel around Europe, but Van Heel opposes them. He’s in favour of a stable habitat.
“The dolphins in Bruges didn’t cause us any problems”, he continues, “until the conclusion of this investigation in May 1972. From that moment, Georges and James started to lose their vitality. Kiana and Allan, despite of having been prepared in Harderwijk, could not stand the pressure of the training anymore, and we had to reduce it. We had to remove Allan from the shows and send him to rest in Holland. The health problems of the animals and the uncomfortable situation of the dolphinarium in Rotterdam, located in the heart of the city, led us not to renew the contract with this site. Hazel was transferred to Bruges in October 1971. In May 1972, his condition had slightly improved while Doris and Kiana’s health had deteriorated to such an extent that we had to send them again to Harderwijk in order to regain strength. Georges and James were doing well then ».
And it stops there. From Sherry, Yogi, Georges, Hazel or James, we will know nothing more. They probably all perished in Netherlands or Germany, but dolphins were dying so quickly that there was not enough time to record all the deaths…
In January 1974, the MMIR tells us that Bruges receives 3 dolphins from Harderwijk.
Allan and Kiana are leaving Holland to come back to Belgium. Jasperina joins them in 1978, after a really difficult time in Huy.
And time passes. In 1987, 3 dolphins are still held in Bruges: Allan, Kiana and Jasperina.
Jasperina dies rapidly. A study indeed confirms a case of septicemia concerning “a 13 year old female, living in the park since 7 years with 2 companions”. It’s Jasperina, who dies in September 1987, after two days of agony.
Oshin was born in January 1987, from Tex, still in Holland, and from an unknown mother (?). Is Kiana the mother ? The child settles with the couple. But not for long.
On the 11th of May 1988, a terrible fire destroys the wooden facilities of the Bruges dolphinarium. The 3 captive dolphins, 2 adults and a child, perish, suffocated, under the beams of the dolphinarium, in terror and suffering. Death by the fire is, for a dolphin, probably worse than the worst hell, an unimaginable pain. But the show must go on…
The ashes are still smoking when the dome is rebuilt and the basins repopulated. The “new” site will be officially inaugurated in 1990.
On the 24th of June 1988, the first group of dolphins arrives from the Dolfirado in Stein (Limburg), a place that has also just been ravaged by the fire. It’s Puck, Tex & Linda.
The presence of Puck is attested in a “holding pen” in 1979 (not specified), with an immediate departure towards the Dolfirodam of Rotterdam on the 26th of July 1979. A highly polluted and lethal place, where the captives are dying very fast.
She was then moved to Dolfirado Stein in 1981. She also resisted this rotten dolphinarium, haunted by insane dolphins, and that also took fire in 1987. Happily, neither Puck nor the other dolphins had to endure this suspicious accident, that was probably set up to try to cover/to hide an announced bankruptcy. They were then in the other aquatic circus of the owner, the Dolfirama of Zandvoort.
The Dolfirama opened in Holland in April 1969. At the time, it is considered like the largest dolphinarium in Europe, with its pool of one million liters and its combined spectacles of dolphins and sea lions. The building still exists today, but the shows of dolphins have stopped since 1988. The living conditions were so deplorable that the law has forced the dolphinarium to close.
Tex was supposedly born in 1974 and his capture took place between 1978 and 1980 in Rockport, Texas.
Linda was born in 1976. She was captured at the same time, on the southeast coast of Texas, thanks to the Permit #299, directly issued to the Dolfirado. Both of them are listed in the directory of the dolphinarium in Stein.
But weirdly, Puck is not mentioned. The MMIR doesn’t indicate any precise origin for her. Nobody knows what she has done between her birth in the wild and her arrival in Rotterdam in July 1979.
Just like the first dolphins of Bruges, Allan, Yogi, Kiana and Sherry, Puck has probably been captured near Grassy Keys by Milton Santini in 1966. The Boudewijn Seapark associates this date to her birth and makes her come from the Caribbean.
Milton Santini was a mackerel fisherman. After shooting down a first dolphin who was rummaging in his nets and after hearing him « cry like a baby » before he died, he catches a second dolphin. This time, he keeps the animal alive. The dolphin is intelligent, we will tame him without any difficulty and M. Santini then launches his business.
He catches a lot of other dolphins, amongst which probably Puck, and teaches them tricks. Tourists enjoy, but also a film director named Ivan Tors, who decides to make a film. The series « Flipper » was born. And the affairs of Mr. Santini start to flourish, until 1993. The company converts into a “research center”, the Dolphin Research Center, well known to tourists who can swim there with captive (but supposed not captured) dolphins.
On the 11th of July 1988, Bruges receives a second group of dolphins, numbered #620, including Kim (Gulfport), Roxanne (Gulfport), Terry (Gulfport) and William (Gulfport). This order is directly addressed by the Boudewijn Seapark to Mr. Moby Solangi, Gulfport.
Kim dies the following year and Ringo disappears at an unknown date. Terry will die devoured by fungi. From this “delivery” #620, Roxanne is the only one who has survived.
Roxanne was taken away very young from her mother. She was only 3 when she was captured, on the 6th of May 1988. Less than two months later, she flies to Belgium and finds herself forever trapped under the dome of the Bruges dolphinarium (in July 1988). The interesting point is that, this time, the place where she was captured is known: Gulfport !
Marine Mammal Productions was located in Gulfport. Its manager, Moby Solangi, has captured over 200 dolphins in the estuary of the Mississippi between 1956 and 1989. These animals have been sold to national and international dolphinaria, but also to the U.S. Navy.
Solangi was also putting his catches to rent. For a certain fee paid each month, the dolphinarium could receive a “package” with several tamed dolphins and sea lions, the services of a veterinarian and of a trainer, and also food for the marine mammals. If an animal was sick or died, Marine Mammal Productions, founded in 1965, pledged to replace it.
Many dolphins were dying due to stress or drowning during their capture. A former employee of Solangi has witnessed the death of 20 dolphins during a single operation. On another occasion, a mother and her child were caught in the nets. The baby sank to the bottom.
An eyewitness said: “Every diver was grabbing a dolphin, but not all of them could keep their vents above the water (…) you could tell by the floats of the nets that were sinking underwater that the dolphins were drowning. We could not help them, we could just watch until they die. It did not take long for dolphins to start drowning, probably because of their extreme efforts to resist and their panic. (…) A dolphin had a rope attached to the caudal (…) we continued to remove the net of the dolphins, and they just slowly sank to the bottom.”
This witness adds: “The permanent employees of Marine Life who captured this group were called by Moby later. He told them not to discuss the affairs of Marine Life with other employees or anyone outside the company (…) I learned later that there were good reasons for that. Marine Animal had already delivered at least 23 dolphins to the U.S. Navy in 1988. The death of more than 20 other dolphins would have made him exceed his quota of at least 18 units.”
Milton Santini, Jerry Mitchell, James Tiebor, Jay Sweeney and many others used the same methods and killed just as many dolphins. You have to imagine what Roxanne and his companions endured.
Roxanne probably has seen, right next to her, her little sister sinking, or her little brother. She probably has called her mother with all her strength, like Angel did in Taiji, and she probably heard her family and friends call her by her name, beg their torturers and drown before their eyes.
Once in Bruges, Tex & Linda have had a first baby, born on the 1st of July 1990. Skippy died in September 2000, at the same time than Terry and from the same disease : their skin and their vent were covered by fungi, and they died in an atrocious agony.
Puck also gave birth to Yotta on the 24th of August 1998, and to Indy, on the 13th of July 2003. Both are still alive today, besides here, but Tex, their father, died at age 20 at the Marineland (Antibes) in 2006, victim of a journey too much.
Roxanne is also lucky. In 2014, her son Ocean is still with her, when he should be traveling – in the wild – to form a coalition with other males of his age. However, she lost Flo, her beloved daughter, and she saw disappear forever.
Gorky, Luna, Marco were sent abroad. Simo, Iggy, her twins in 2011 and her youngest child, dead after only four days, in 2012 are now buried somewhere. In the wild, dolphins never really lose contact. Just like chimpanzees, they form a “fission-fusion” society, in which individuals move away and get closer at will, in the same region.
Linda, finally, the old friend of Puck and Roxanne, has been coldly deported to Italy with her son Mateo, just to make room after living 20 years all together under the dome. Nobody took into account the friendship and the bonds between her and the rest of her artificial pod. She still lives today amongst strangers in an overcrowded aquarium in Genoa. Her son has been sent to Spain as stallion.
The father of ALL these children, Tex, died in 2005 as a breeding loan at Antibes Marineland, where he probably committed suicide.
As for Beachie, the story is a little different. Beachie was rescued by SeaWorld Orlando when he stranded in Florida. He was released once and re-stranded, it is how he got his name. He was held at SeaWorld Orlando until being transferred to Harderwijk in 1997, then Bruges in 2009.
Do Puck and Roxanne remember those horrible catches, the screaming and the crying of the mothers deprived of their children ? Do they remember all those companions who died next to them, or those babies, condemned to live a few days only in the chlorinated pool water ?
Yes. They do. A recent study showed that dolphins had a prodigious memory and could recognize the voice of old friends more than 20 years after being separated from them. In the wild, they mourn their deaths.
Why is it important to tell those old stories ? Because they are not old stories !
Massive catches are still held in Japan, in Russia, Turkey, Indonesia, in the Solomon Islands, in Cuba, worldwide. The U.S. are only waiting for a signal to recover their former hunting licenses. Meanwhile, SeaWorld has already sponsored the capture of beluga whales in Russia.
For the dolphins, the pain is still the same, in 1980 or in 2014. Emerging countries are now imposing to captives what we were imposing them in the 70s and 80s. The tragic story of the dolphins in Bruges illuminates the present times.
This will happen tomorrow, and again and again, as long as the dolphinarium in Bruges and its colleagues of the EAZA will continue to claim that their aquatic circuses serve education, research and conservation. As long as they will send that sort of message to countries like Iraq, Pakistan, China, Russia, North Korea, and as long as they will say to them “Look! We make a lot of money! Just do like us!”
Note: If there are errors in this text, we thank in advance Bruges dolphinarium to kindly correct them. A little transparency always improves the image of a company. Thanks to Ceta Base for its help. Thanks to Christelle Bornauw for her excellent and courageous translation of this long article.
Original article :
Read also :
Preliminary Report on The Demographic Status of the Bottlenosed Dolphin in the E.E.EC (July 1981)
HELGA DE BOIS, PAUL VAN DEN SANDE
The medical exam took place at the Causus Clinic in Oudenburg. It seems the vet in charge, Piet De Laender, wanted to find out more about the age-related diseases amongst dolphins.
For some time now, the trainers had noticed that Beachie was behaving differently. They contacted Piet De Laender (Assebroek), a veterinarian specialized in exotic pets in who regularly checks on the inmates of the dolphinarium. The dolphin was sleeping half of the time and was no longer able to perform jumps during the shows.
“Beachie is already 30”, says insidiously De Laender, “and he suffers from age-related diseases”, implying that the death of this “old” dolphin could be a predictable and normal thing. He adds : “But he is not the oldest resident of the dolphinarium”. “Puck is already 47. I wanted to carry out these tests to detect the diseases that could be associated with Beachie’s age.”
Piet de Laender has asked the University of Ghent to do a scan. But Beachie, who has become obese because of captivity, was too heavy to move. “That’s why I had to find an alternative solution”, explains the vet. “Finally I found a closer solution, at the Causus Clinic in Oudenburg. The doctor Koen Vandendriessche has warmly welcomed us. The CT-scan went very well.”
According to the vet, Beachie is also the 1st dolphin that has ever experienced this type of exam. He’s now waiting for the images before making a judgment about the health of his patient. As far as we can see on above video, CT Scan mainly focused on lunges and respiratory system.
De Laender doesn’t mention this point. “We have been able to lift him out of the water using a sort of elevator”. “The dolphin has been wrapped during the transport to avoid injuries and the trainers have kept his skin constantly moist. For a long-distance transport, dolphins are often kept one or two days out of the water.”
Waching with attention images of the video, it seems Beachie is completley stonned. He seems under tanquillizer. Not a move, not a thrill. But he is awake.
“The success of this operation and this transport will be a model in the future to conduct health exams for all the dolphins”, concludes the vet, delighted. As for Beachie, he regained his pool and joined again the 5 other dolphins of the Boudewijn Seapark.
This is, anyway, the well-oiled official discourse of Captivity Industry. It is clearly about transmitting to the public quite a few solid untruths. Starting with the classical staging of good vets and wonderful trainers, who are so concerned about the health of their protégé, Beachie. Just another old dolphin near to death.
Beachie was born in the Gulf of Mexico around 1982. He beached and was “saved” by SeaWorld in April 1984, but he was never put back to sea. After staying in Orlando, he was deported to the Harderwijk dolphinarium in 1997 and then shipped towards Belgium on the 18th of September 2009, at the Boudewijn Seapark. His “mission” was to replace the previous reproductive male, Tex, who died tragically at the Marineland (Antibes – France), because of the EEP Programs.
Beachie’s health was excellent until he arrived in Bruges. And Beachie was also a great stallion. In SeaWorld and in Harderwijk, he had given birth to Marbel, Sal’ka, T’lisala, Amtan, Palawas, Spetter and Kite, his last viable child, in 2005. Once he was moved to Bruges, he became the dad of only one stillborn child, removed from Yotta’s uterus in 2010, of stillborn twins from “old” Roxanne in 2011, and of one other child of Roxanne, a little boy who died 4 days after his birth in 2012.
These deaths occurred in one of the 5 contiguous pools of Bruges, where you can hear, see and feel everything. And it is not funny to watch the agony of kids or teenagers, like poor Flo for example on the 6th of January 2012, who died alone one night of a strange tooth infection, an infection that seems to affect also Morgan and a lot of captive cetaceans…
Since his transfer from Harderwijk to Bruges, Beachie was feeling lonely and sad. It was a shock for him. He suddenly found himself in a small, limited and dark environment. He was living in a sea pen under the sun and the wind in the Netherlands with several other males, and the poor Beachie had to learn new tricks, new ways to obey and to survive alone, isolated, along with aggressive dominant females and fearful juveniles, under the sinister dome of the Boudewijn Seapark.
The air he was breathing was not the same either: the sea wind blowing on Harderwijk was replaced by a chlorine-loaded atmosphere, that takes you by the throat as soon as you enter the dark dome of the dolphinarium. Bad for your lungs when you are not used to it.
The trainers all think he is a little crazy. He is difficult and only does what he wants. He is even called “the Mongolian”, because of his strange look, right in the orbits. Until recently, Beachie was receiving before each show up to 10 pills of Ciprofloxacin. Ten pills before the show, then 5 pills after and 5 more pills again for the second show. That is 20 doses of antibiotics a day.
Ciprofloxacin (INN) is a fluoroquinolone antibiotic (second generation). Its spectrum of activity covers most of the pathogenic bacteria responsible for respiratory, urinary, gastrointestinal and stomach infections. In this case, the lungs seem to be the cause of the problem: Beachie’s breathing had been erratic and difficult for several months.
Beachie: old ? At 31 years old ?
In the wild, dolphins do not need any vet, pills or food additives. Their life is more dangerous: sharks, pollution, drifting nets…
However, according to NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration), the average age for wild dolphins is between 40 and 45 for males and more than 50 for females. It’s an average, because, in Sarasota’s bay, Nicklo has celebrated his 63rd birthday in 2013, and BlackDipDoubleDip his 60th.
The fact that Puck is 47 is only exceptional because captive dolphins rarely reach that age. In Bruges, most of them died before 20.
We’ll remember that, the same way, the death of Iris (aged 34) at the Duisburg Zoo had been explained by Dr Manuel Hartmann as a result of her “old age”. Iris had been living for almost 12 years in the wild before being plunged into the hell of the Antwerp Zoo for more than 18 years, alongside with her son Ivo.
The Antwerp dolphinarium was closed in 1999, under the pressure of various associations, including Dolphin Project, and the two survivors were sent to Germany. The decline and the death of Iris in 2003 were atrocious but ignored and wrongly attributed by the dolphinarium and by a certain press to leukemia due to age.
What they forgot to mention is that several factors drastically reduce the quality of life and the life even of the captives. They know it. But the show must go on. The federal commission for the welfare of the dolphins in Bruges, which has been now working for 3 years, will probably not say anything else when its findings will be made public and approved by the State.
Beachie’s death will not change anything. He will be replaced, like he himself replaced Tex. Others will die again, others will be deported. Children will be taken away from their mothers, separated from them forever. A terrible pain, as dolphins are tied together with an intensity that we cannot even conceive. They suffer from boredom, and of course from the lack of space and occupations, but their body also suffers from the inadequate environment in which they are forced to live: frozen food, food additives, hydrating gels, meds, drugs, vitamins… Chemically salted water enriched with all sorts of substances and filtered by pumps day and night. At last, they suffer also from a nagging hunger that makes them obey and repeat 1000 times the same silly tricks in front of a misinformed public.
As the head of the “Planète Vie” association, Dr Yvan Beck, veterinarian and co-author, with Y.Godefroid and Gauthier Chapelle, of the book « Freedom for dolphins ! » (to be re-edited) :
“Beachie is only 30. And whatever the leaders of Bruges say, he is a young adult, as wild dolphins in natural conditions reach 50 years. So how can you explain that dolphins protected from their predators and from the pollution systematically die (with rare exceptions) before the age of 30 ? And, if Beachie is a “very” old dolphin… this is only true for captive dolphins…”
The Boudewijn Seapark is a business indispensable to employment in the region. It benefits also from political supports. The whole case is tricky. Bruges is a Flemish town, and Christian, while Ms Laurette Onkelinx, the Minister in charge, is French speaking and socialist. So the leaders of the park seem to still have a bright future ahead of them, at least as long as this ultra-capitalist logic will prevail.
6th of November 2013: one anonymous person who just talked with someone at the dolphinarium has declared that Beachie was still sick but still had to take part to the shows, under very strong medication. If everything goes according to plan, he should also be joining the big Christmas show. And, according to another trainer in Bruges: “Anyway we still have enough dolphins”.
One of the things that Beachie had the greatest difficult to « learn » in Bruges when he arrived of Harderwijk (and before that of SeaWorld, and before that of the sea) it is to stand « at the foot » his trainer, stationary, while the other performed and were receiving fish for their work. A technique of training specific to the Boudewijn Seapark which lack of space and must manage 6 dolphins in front in a single basin during the show. See the Dolphin on the right, open mouth, begging: hunger is a constant in all the dolphinariums.
French article translated by Christelle Bornauw
Une cinquantaine d’activistes de Bite back, une organisation de défense des droits des animaux, ont mené samedi une action à l’entrée du parc d’attractions Boudewijn Seapark de Bruges afin de dénoncer la captivité des dauphins.
« Nous ne voulons rien de moins que la fermeture » du parc, ont-ils fait savoir.
Les activistes ont distribué des tracts aux visiteurs pour les informer des conséquences qu’ont pour les dauphins la vie en captivité et la participation quotidienne à des spectacles aquatiques.
« Le dressage et les conditions de vie des dauphins les détraquent: en captivité, ils souffrent de maladies de la peau et de stress, deviennent fous et cela finit par mener à des actes d’auto-mutilation et à des comportements qui ne sont pas naturels », dénonce l’organisation. D’autres actions suivront bientôt, annonce Bite Back, qui a notamment reçu le soutien des ONG Sea Shepherd, qui a pour but la défense internationale des océans et de la vie marine, et Dauphins Libres, qui milite pour une Belgique sans delphinarium.
On notera d’abord avec étonnement que cette dépêche est illustrée par la photo de Roxanne et de son petit BS-TT-B1201, mort 4 jours après sa naissance, le 3 septembre 2012. Soit 3 enfants morts entre 2011 et 2012 pour cette malheureuse capturée en mer, et tant d’autres avant eux.
En bassin, les delphines sont comme des vaches reproductrices. On les insémine de la même manière. La loi l’autorise puisqu’elle concède aux delphinariums le statut de zoo et leur impose dès lors d’assurer la reproduction d’une espèce en danger en vue de sa sauvegarde et de son réintroduction. Le dauphin Tursiops truncatus n’est pourtant pas une espèce prioritaire selon l’IUCN et aucun né captif n’est jamais remis en mer. Quant aux recherches menées par Bruges, c’est de la plaisanterie.
BITE BACK est une courageuse association de défense animale qui opère principalement en Flandres et aux Pays Bas.
Elle a récemment menée une action au Dolfinarium de Hardewijk mais participait déjà à la grande manifestation de juillet 2004 devant celui de Bruges. Elle vient de lancer un site : http://www.voorvermaakzonderdieren.nl/ assorti d’une pétition.
Rappelons qu’il existe une seconde pétition en langue française sur Avaaz, adressée à Mme Laurette Onkelinx.
Il s’agit ici d’en finir avec les atermoiements de nos responsables politiques. Depuis plus de 3 ans, une commission fédérale relative au bien-être des dauphins de Bruges discute en effet sur le fait de savoir si des cétacés enfermés toute leur vie sous un dôme obscure dans de petites piscines pleines d’eau chlorée, sont heureux.
Octobre, c’est la morte saison qui commence. Très peu de visiteurs, des jeunes parents et leurs gosses à l’arrière, franchissant la grille du delphinarium entre une haie de manifestants. Pour nos dauphins physiquement adaptés au climat de la Floride ou des Caraïbes, une salle sombre et glacée, l’ennui atroce, les piscines vides aux murs nus parcourue sans fin, comme on marche dans sa cellule.
Comment Puck a-t-elle pu tenir si longtemps ? Et Roxanne ?
Beachie, lui, ne va pas bien. Le ciel et le vent marin du lagon de Hardewijk lui manque. Il respire mal. On le gave d’antibiotiques, avant et après le spectacle.
Yotta, qui faillit récemment mourir lorsque son bébé resta coincé mort dans son ventre, ne serait pas non plus au mieux de sa forme, selon certaines rumeurs. Et quant au Boudewijn Seapark lui-même, ce se serait encore pire.
Aspro Ocio, la compagnie espagnole qui détient l’entreprise semble vouloir quitter le navire et lâcher cette attraction peu rentable et peu inventive. Qui la reprendra ?
Popsaland ? Le Studio 100 ? Pairi Daiza ? La tentation serait grande d’y investir alors des améliorations majeures dans l’environnement des dauphins, sous les applaudissements d’une foule qui voit déjà en ce zoo géant le sauveur des éléphants de cirques. Mais nous savons de source sûre que son directeur, M. Eric Domb, est un gestionnaire de parc animalier de la nouvelle génération. Il sait que son public est désormais très sensible au bien-être animal et se refuse donc à héberger des dauphins captifs.
Une loi récente, dont on attend les arrêtés d’application, interdit tout animal sauvage dans les cirques en Belgique. Un travail de fond mené par GAIA depuis bien des années. Cette décision n’est pas sans conséquence.
En effet, si les tigres et les lions (pourtant tous nés en captivité) ou bien les éléphants (le plus souvent capturés), ne peuvent plus être exhibés au public pour exécuter des tours, on se demande pourquoi les dauphins pourraient encore l’être.
3 des 6 prisonniers de Bruges sont nés dans le Golfe du Mexique. Les 3 autres sont nés sous le dôme obscure, zombies malades et dépressifs qui jamais de toute leur vie n’ont vu voler une mouette, entendu le ressac, ressenti la douceur du vent et du soleil ou la claque au poitrail des rouleaux que l’on fend.
Au XXième siècle, et alors que l’Inde vient de déclarer le dauphin « personne non-humaine dont la détention seule est une forme de maltraitance », la Belgique ne peut plus tolérer l’existence des delphinariums, quel qu’en soit l’attrait financier. Et il devrait en aller de même pour tous les pays d’Europe.
Lire aussi :
1. The life of free young males
A pod of dolphins is having fun while racing with a boat in the Gulf of Florida.
These dolphins are Tursiops truncatus with large fins, or Atlantic Bottlenose, perfectly adapted to coastal life, shallow waters and warm climate. And this is also the reason why our European dolphinaria likes them so much : they are incredibly resilient and able to survive in absurdly small pools disinfected with chlorine.
Here, we see a Trio. An alliance at the first degree, a gang of 3 happy friends who are swimming kilometers and kilometers every day to seduce pretty females of the neighborood. They will stick together for a while, sometimes for their whole life.
Watch the video. First, one dolphin is taking the initiative and jumps out of the water in a very powerful and harmonious way. Quickly, his friends will join him and challenge him : « I bet we can catch up with that boat there ! ». Their jumps are full of joy, innocence, friendship and laughter.
« The relationship between these “male alliance partners” — bromances, if you will — could last decades or even a lifetime: the friends will spend almost 100 percent of their time together and will often surface side by side in synchronicity. Most of the dolphins leaping and rolling and showing off in front of the boat were playful males, about 9 to 10 years old, just about the age of sexual maturity. Their play, which sometimes includes sex with each other, helps them determine who they’ll choose to be their useful, dependable ally for the next few decades. “It’s a big decision on their part,” Gibson said. “They want to make sure they choose wisely.” UNF’s researchers have identified 14 alliances among male dolphins in the St. Johns. Twelve are pairs, one is a trio, the other is a quartet: Osceola, Choctaw, Timucuan and Geronimo, who are almost always together. A few more alliances could be forming among the youngsters who played around the UNF boat (…) .
Different types of alliances are created amongst the males as they compete to attract the females. These alliances are not confined to one given territory, as it is the case with other social mammals, but, at the contrary, they move over large areas that overlap ».
University of Florida research
2 or 3 dolphins will form a first alliance, very strong over the long term.
These pairs or trios will in turn form a second alliance with other similar groups of 2 or 3 males within a larger group of 4 to 14 individuals, who have no family bounds between them.
This second level group will cooperate to defend its own females or to attack other groups and steal their women. Such alliances can last more than 15 years.
Finally, this « super-group » will be able to form a coalition of several groups of the same type, always to face their rivals organised like them. So we will have an alliance « A » combined with an alliance « B » to attack an alliance « C » on certain occasions, but that will be able to ally also to C to attack an alliance « D » at another moment. And then, it really becomes very complicated. (Richard Connor)
Florida dolphins also have a « fission-fusion » social structure, characterised by temporary associations, lasting a few minutes to several hours. These models of flexible grouping, in which dolphins are constantly associating differently, imply that they must be able to find each other, when they are separated by long distances. However, these distances must be within reach of communications – they must still be able to communicate.The decision of a dolphin to join or leave a group is linked to various social considerations, such as the class of the individuals in the group (mothers with their babies, single adult females, adult males and young ones). Every dolphin evolves in different social environments.
The decision is also influenced by the ecological characteristics of their habitat. For example, mothers with children prefer to reside regularly in deep waters. They develop relationships with other females in the same situation and associate with them. The same mothers, when they come to swim in shallow waters, will meet young males with whom they will have little contact.
2. The life of a captive young male
In Bruges, Beachie is sleeping on the bottom of the pool. He’s not healthy. He feels alone.
Born free in 1982, « saved » from a stranding in April 1984, he was sent to SeaWorld Orlando on the 27th of April 1984. He left this place on the 8th of June 1997 to be deported to the Harderwijk Dolphinarium, in the Netherlands.
On the 18th of September 2009, he was finally sent to Bruges. Beachie had been a good stallion before the Boudewijn Seapark. In SeaWorld and Harderwijk, he gave birth to Marble (1997), Sal’ka (1998), T’lisala (2001), Amtan (2001), Palawas (2004), Spetter (2005) and Kite (2005). But once in Belgium, he only gave a stillborn child to the young Yotta in 2010, twins (also stillborn) to the older Roxanne in 2011, and another baby who died after 4 days to Roxanne again. His largely degraded life environment probably explains these events.
Roxanne and her baby, who died after 4 days
So, in 2009, Beachie was brought to the Boudewijn Seapark in Bruges, in the context of an international breeding program (EEP – European Endangered Species Program). Please note that these programs are supposed to ensure the safeguard of an endangered species « ex situ », like for example the golden lion tamarins, the love panthers, the Sumatran elephants, or the okapis, not to mention local but less spectacular endangered species.
According to the IUCN, Tursiops truncatus is not a highly endangered species. Tursiops are never rehabilitated by the dolphinaria. So dolphinaria do betray the spirit of these European programs. Inadequate education and unnecessary researches couldn’t legally justify the breeding of captive dolphins, since they do not contribute at all to the conservation of the species.
Only females and young dolphins had lived in Bruges since Tex died. That made the arrival of a male necessary for this breeding program for what we can call « circus animals ». Note that neither Beachie nor the residents of the Flemish aquatic circus had chosen to meet. The group would have to, once again, be reshaped by the hand of man.
One week before Beachie arrived, expert trainers of the Boudewijn Seapark went to Harderwijk to see how Beachie was working, what tricks he could be asked and how he had been prepared to take part to the medical tests. In the morning of the 19th of September 2009, the dolphin was moved to Bruges in the company of 5 employees of Harderwijk and his new masters. Beachie was carried in a hammock, suspended in a box. He arrived in Bruges in the afternoon, to be immediately put in a tank behind the dolphinarium. For the entire first week after his moving, a trainer from Harderwijk stayed in Bruges to help with Beachie’s integration within the group and to advise the team of Bruges.
The residents. Flo died in 2010, at 13 y.0
Photo Adriaan van Rijswijk
For the first 4 days, Beachie stayed in the tank at the bottom, separated from the group by a simple net. This enabled him to hear and see his new cellmates. Then the male was introduced to the 5 residents. At first, he came into contact with Roxanne, one of the three adult females, while the others stayed separated from him in the pool used for the show.
Today, Beachie is getting along with the senior females (the « high-ranking » females), Roxanne, Yotta and Puck. Young Indy and Ocean – 10 years already ! – are afraid of him. The dominance in a tank is complete, as there is no means of escape, and no possibility to create alliances.Compared to what Beachie has known in his open-air lagoon in Harderwijk, the tank in Bruges is not very big. It is 3-6 meters deep and 40 meters long. On the right and on the left of the tank, there are 2 isolation pens. And behind the scene, there is another pool, larger, but 4 meters deep. This pool was originally intended to sea lions. They go back there during the winter. During the summer, they stay at the « Sea lions Theater ».
Beachie also had to learn to obey a different way.
In Harderwijk, all the dolphins were getting the attention of the trainers at the same time. In Bruges, they must remain calm in front of the trainer until they receive, one at a time, instructions. For Beachie, at the start, it was hard to wait his turn. He was often jumping out of the water, very excited, and had trouble staying calm. He’s been tamed.For the show, he has been asked first to show all the tricks he had learnt in Harderwijk. Then, he has learnt to throw balls at children and to do somersaults. This training had already begun in Harderwijk, but it couldn’t be completed there. One wonders what he has learnt in SeaWorld, during all that time after his « rescue »…
For Beachie, many things have changed. He has long lived in the Dolfijndomijn, in Harderwijk, among a group of other males. They had not chosen to be together either, but at least they were all males. At the Boudewijn Seapark, our stallion is now sharing a really small space with 3 young dolphins – including a skinny male – and 2 females older than him. In addition, Beachie no longer has the possibility to go out in the open air, or to feel the sun on his skin, in a sea where fish can survive. The dolphinarium in Bruges is completely covered by a dome. Its waters are entirely artificial.
Beachie is not healthy. Like so many captive dolphins, he sleeps on the bottom of his basin during hours. He is so alone ! No alliances, no friends, no travels. Nothing to do, nowhere to go. Just shows and sleep, sleep and shows.
That’s not a male dolphin life.
Is it even necessary to conclude ? Is the simple detail of these two life styles not enough to condemn a business that should no longer exist in Europe or anywhere in the world : exhibition of captive dolphins ?
To know more :
Thanks to Christelle Bornauw Waiengnier for the translation.
– Information about Beachie’s was taken from an interview of the chief trainer of Bruges, Sander van der Heul, published on a now securised (after my first visit !) professional website ruled by Harderwijk Dolphinarium.
– Please note the swimming Trio shown on the top of this page are part of the family of the 2 golden geese of the Clearwater Marine Aquarium, Winter and Hope. These new inmates are claimed to have been saved from stranding. It’s the new way to get captive dolphins in the USA. All stranded dolphins are supposed to be deaf.
Let’s remind that for more than 2 decades, Gulf of Mexico was the focus of a live-capture fishery for Bottlenose dolphins which supplied dolphins to the U.S. Navy and European dolphinaria. « During the period between 1972-89, 490 bottlenose dolphins, an average of 29 dolphins annually, were removed from a few locations in the Gulf of Mexico, including the Florida Keys. Mississippi Sound sustained the highest level of removals and 202 dolphins were removed from this stock during this period, representing 41% of the total and an annual average of 12 dolphins. It may be biologically significant that 73% of the dolphins removed during 1982-88 were females. The impact of those removals on the stocks is unknown ». (NOAA)