Photo: Annabelle Lowe/BDMLR
A few hours southwest of London in Cornwall, a small 4 foot dolphin became stranded on the beach. The dolphin was first noticed by a kayaker who promptly reported it to authorities.
People were quickly on the scene to help this stranded dolphin…but not the kind of help this dolphin you would hope for.
Upon inspection, the dolphin was reported to have a football sized blister on its back near its dorsal fin, most likely caused from a sunburn. What happened next is shocking.
Authorities killed the dolphin.
The reason they gave was the football sized sunburn and the likelihood that it would get infection and that would eventually kill the animal.
Why wasn’t this animal taken to a rescue facility, you might ask?
Back in 1985 the UK government passed laws that eventually drove marine parks out of business in Great Britain, so this dolphin now only had two choices:
- Die a slow painful death after being pushed back into the ocean.
- Die immediately because there are no rescue facilities.
Animals get a second chance in the United States and Canada
In the US and Canada whales and dolphins are regularly rescued, rehabilitated and returned to the wild.
Take Sassafras for example, he was found stranded in Louisiana with a sunburn much worse than the poor dolphin in the UK.
Sassafras was given round the clock care for over 6 months as rescuers attend to his injuries and nursed him back to health. During his rehabilitation it was discovered that Sassafras was deaf. Now he calls the Institute of Marine Mammal Studies home in Mississippi and we are fairly confident he likes being alive and cared for more than being dead.
When you get ride of marine parks the animals suffer
Earlier this year we shared a story about a mass stranding of pilot whales in New Zealand. This was a heart-breaking story full of people who were trying their hardest to save these poor animals. But they were limited in resources because there are no cetacean rescue facilities in all of New Zealand. Marine Parks have been outlawed in New Zealand, however operating a rescue and rehabilitation facility is perfectly legal. But because those facilities are incredibly expensive to operate, none exists in the New Zealand and animals suffer because of it.
Condemning the public display of marine life leads to irresponsible legislation, that causes the death and suffering of animals in need of our help.
Zoological facilities are part of the answer
This dolphin in the UK could be alive and receiving life saving care if British legislators hadn’t buckled to the pressure of animal rights groups.
Accredited Zoological facilities are part of the answer of how we protect and preserve wildlife and habitat.
Without the proper facilities and their expertly trained staff, animals are left to suffer and die.