A recent study published in the journal Marine Mammal Science revealed that bottlenose dolphins living in U.S. aquariums and zoos live just as long as, or longer than, dolphins in the wild.
Researchers analyzed close to 40 years of data from the Marine Mammal Inventory Report (MMIR), a U.S. government source, along with previous studies of three different wild populations of dolphins to compare the current median life expectancy of bottlenose dolphins with that of dolphins in the wild.
According to the MMIR data, the median life expectancy of bottlenose dolphins in U.S. facilities is 29.2 years which is equal to or greater than wild dolphins.
Dr. Kelly Jaakkola of Dolphin Research Center and Kevin Willis of The Minnesota Zoo co-authored the peer-reviewed study. “Survival rates and life expectancies are indicators of overall health and well-being,” explained Dr. Jaakkola. “Critics of zoos and aquariums will frequently claim that dolphins in facilities don’t live as long as dolphins in the wild, in an attempt to influence public opinion and even proposed legislation. This study shows that that claim is just not true.”
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