How are EU Member States failing to protect dolphins?
It is easy to see why people love dolphins and why they have such a strong desire to see them up-close, but the wild is where whales and dolphins should be.
It is up to us all to protect these animals, but it is difficult to do that without the support of government legislation. Harder still when the legislation exists but is simply ignored.
Use our interactive map to see more details.
*12 European Union (EU) States don't keep these animals in captivity but 15 do.
These 15 States alone are home to 35 captive dolphin facilities (or dolphinaria) displaying a reported 289 small whales, dolphins and porpoises.
Displaying these animals to the public in circus-style shows may seem like fun, but there is a sad truth behind these shows.
Although there are a number of different pieces of legislation safeguarding wild whales and dolphins in the EU only the EU Zoos Directive (EC Directive 1999/22) provides captive whales and dolphins with any form of EU-wide protection. By requiring that Member States ensure the zoos in their countries operate for the benefit of biodiversity, zoos, including dolphinaria, must meet certain conditions in terms of conservation and education and they must keep the animals under conditions that provide them with their natural biological needs which is simply impossible for whales and dolphins.
* The 12 countries without dolphinaria are: Austria, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Luxembourg, Poland, Republic of Ireland, Slovakia, Slovenia and the United Kingdom.