Marine life in captivity
The Humane Society of the United States
1. Life in the Wild
Whales and dolphins naturally live in groups, often in a tight family bond, which lasts for years, in some species, even a lifetime. Whales and dolphins travel long distances every day, to search for food and to socialise. They normally spend 10-20 percent of their time near the surface.
Octopuses naturally live isolated, their life span is no longer than five years, it is not uncommon that male octopuses die after mating with a female. And the female dies soon after releasing her eggs. Octopuses are intellectual creatures too, they learn to adapt.
Jellyfish are an ecological value; they provide food for many sea life scavengers. Jellyfish ‘blooms’ are increasing due to climate change, the need for nutrients has risen. However, these blooms are falling below some marine life’s oxygen levels, causing them to die.
2. Life in Captivity
Whales and dolphins are always aware and always moving. Being in a tiny arena is a tragedy to their needed lifestyle. Tanks allow only a few strokes before they hit a wall and since many tanks are shallow, they spend more than half their time at the tanks surface.
These unnatural situations can cause skin problems. Killer whales in captivity can develop dorsal fin collapse, this is the lack of water support, gravity pulled their fins as the whales develop.
It is currently unclear whether the fascination with octopuses are hurting them, we are unsure because U.S. import records are spotty and out of date. It is feared that the popularity of octopus may endanger them. Newly imported octopuses may live up to one or two years. Some pass within weeks of new confinement. However, common species are known to live well in captivity.
3. The Problem
Whales and dolphins do not breed well in captivity, often their offspring does not survive and it is expected that they have a short life expectancy.
Interactive zoos charge the public for educational and conservational purposes; however, these experiences have proven that the public displays are not effectively educating the public.