Sweden is one of fifteen EU Member States with dolphins in captivity. There is one reported dolphinarium in Sweden, Kolmarden Djurpark, which currently holds a reported 8 bottlenose dolphins.
Kolmarden Djurpark, also known as Kolmarden Wildlife Park or Zoo, is located in Östergötland, Sweden. While Kolmarden Zoo was first established in 1965, the dolphinarium opened in 1969 and was the first dolphinarium to be built in any of the Scandinavian countries. Reports suggest the first dolphins were imported in 1969, with 3 dying that year, followed by the import of 2 more in 1970. The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species’ database only records trade in species after 1975 so for that reason our knowledge of imported dolphins begins in 1979. But between 1979 and 1994, 11 bottlenose dolphins are recorded being imported from the United States to Sweden, 3 of which came through the United Kingdom and 2 via Germany. While only 3 of the 11 are recorded as being wild-caught, records may not be complete. The 3 bottlenose dolphins from the United Kingdom were transferred following the closure of the Flamingoland dolphinarium as strict new legislation was passed concerning the keeping of these animals in captivity. These 3 have since been reportedly transferred to other dolphinaria within the EU.
A reported total of 59 bottlenose dolphins have been held at Kolmarden Zoo since 1969. Of these, 6 have been transferred to other facilities, 8 remain at the zoo and a reported 45 dolphins have died at the facility..
Sweden’s dolphinaria are included in the national zoo law, but there are no specific standards for the keeping of these animals in captivity. Sweden is 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.