Germany is one of the 15 EU Member States with dolphins in captivity.
In the 1990s there were nine dolphinaria, however in the past 20 years, six dolphinaria have closed:
- Europapark Rust, near Freiburg
- Holiday Park Hassloch, near Speyer
- Phantasialand, Bruehl
- Tierpark Hagenbeck, Hamburg
- Hansapark Sierksdorf, near Luebeck
- Heidepark, Soltau (since fall 2008)
The dolphins held in these six closed facilities were either transported to other existing dolphinaria in Germany or – in rare cases – exported to other countries.
Germany now has three remaining dolphinaria. One of the three, Allwetterzoo Muenster, has announced that its dolphinarium will close at the end of 2012. The two other dolphinaria at Zoo Duisburg and Tiergarten Nuremberg are investing in long-term business opportunities. The facilities in Duisburg have recently received a new roof and Nuremberg has invested 24 billion Euros in a new outdoor area, the so-called "dolphin lagoon". The Nuremberg Zoo’s top new attraction will open on the 30th of July 2011 with the aim of bringing visitors closer to its dolphins. Claiming it will display the animals in a "natural environment", it is hard to imagine a concrete tank resembling the oceans in any way. The zoo will also continue to offer Dolphin Assisted Therapy in the future.
In May 2011, WDCS achieved a significant legal victory when the Appeal Court in Munich found in WDCS’s favour by granting access to all information relating to the display and husbandry of captive dolphins at Nuremberg Zoo. Representatives at the Zoo tried to prevent public access to this information.
Germany is a Party to ASCOBANS (Agreement on the Conservation of Small Cetaceans of the Baltic, North East Atlantic, Irish and North Seas) which aims to maintain and achieve favourable conservation status for small cetaceans throughout the agreement area.
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