Release Dolphins to Oceanside Sanctuary

Bottlenose Dolphin

Target: Chief Executive Officer of the National Aquarium of Boston, John Racanelli

Goal: Release eight bottlenose dolphins in National Aquarium to seaside sanctuary

It is thanks to activists, supporters, documentaries and television shows that the public perception of keeping dolphins and whales are changing. The National Aquarium in Baltimore is shifting its focus from being a tourist attraction to one that is supporting animal conservation. The facility is considering sending their eight bottlenose dolphins to a seaside pen instead of keeping them in captivity, and they are waiting for more data before this pen is made. If it does get created, this sanctuary will be the first of its kind.

Public opinion and perception is changing about keeping dolphins and whales in captivity. These animals are self aware, show high levels of cognitive function, and do not thrive well in captivity. Whether the animals are wild or not, dolphins and whales have been known to be aggressive to one another, and do not thrive from the contained space of a pen.

John Racanelli, the National Aquarium’s director, stated that they are “studying and evaluating all possible options for providing [the dolphins] with the best possible living environment in the years ahead.” Even if the sanctuary will be not be finalized, animal conservationists are elated that the aquarium is considering all options. Many are pleased that facilities such as these are responding to new scientific research about dolphins and whales.

Director Rancanelli saw very little educational value in dolphin shows, and ended them in 2012. Instead he has visitors meet with his biologists and see the animals in their pools. Rancanelli recently stated, “There are chimp sanctuaries, orangutan sanctuaries, gorilla sanctuaries, elephant sanctuaries, big-cat sanctuaries, bird sanctuaries… And there’s not yet a dolphin sanctuary.”

Sign this petition and urge the director to release these dolphins into a sea pen. Unfortunately, these creatures may never be released into the wild, but at least they will experience the ocean and have more space to swim.


Dear Chief Executive Officer John Racanelli,

It has come to my attention that the National Aquarium in Baltimore is considering the option of retiring their eight bottlenose dolphins into sea pens. I am absolutely ecstatic that your facility is considering this as an option and I am writing to urge you to make it happen.

I don’t believe dolphins and whales should live in captivity, especially when they’re such intelligent and large creatures. Unfortunately the dolphins in your facility will never be able to live in the ocean, as they have no knowledge of living in the wild, but the least you can do is offer them the sea. Please do your best to ensure that these dolphins live as full and healthy a life as possible.


[Your Name Here]

Photo credit: NASAs via Wikimedia

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