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Say No To Captivity

Here you will find stories of three facilities that kept cetaceans working for food from 1968 to 1990. Those three prisions could be nominated as "haunted houses". Few businessmen made easy money after forcing bottlenose dolphins and orcas to be clowns, and exposing Amazon dolphins as "rare" wild animals. Most of those friendly animals had their lives taken in the name of few "dolphin-lovers" richness. Everybody knows that forced behaviour is perverted behaviour. Everybody knows that confinement is deleterious to human and animal minds. Would you like to see your parents or kids being forced to work for food and attention in a jail? Be sure that bottlenose dolphins, orcas and other marine mammals do not like either. So... after reading the following stories about cetaceans in captivity in Brazil, think twice before visiting the next facility. You may be the responsible for the next cetacean death in captivities around the world. Try visiting those animals in the wild, in their terms. Read with attention our advices and be sure to follow them. Nature will thank!

We suggest a tour through Whale and Dolphin Conservation and Cetacean Society International websites to learn more about the truth on cetaceans in captivities.


Flipper a few days before its release in the wild (Photo: A TRIBUNA de Santos)

The State of São Paulo hosted three facilities that forced some cetaceans to work for food. One of those jails was located in the city of São Vicente and was called "Oceanorium". That facility kept not only bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops truncatus), but also sea lions. They kept marine mammals from 1968 to 1993. At least 10 bottlenose dolphins died in a very small pool with a bad quality water. Just to give you an idea on how things were going in that facility on January 15th 1970 a female dolphin arrived from California and died four days later. At that occasion, there were 5 bottlenose dolphins and 3 sea lions at Oceanorium. In the same year, the owner of that facility brought another dolphin from California, called "Juliet". This female died two years later with pneumonia. In the same year (1972), another female called "Brigitte" also died. After the necropsy, more than 2 kg of nails, marbles and stones were found in her stomach. In 1990, that facility had only two dolphins: "Carolina", a female that died in that year, and "Flipper" (another one!!) that stopped his performances in 1991. He was released in the wild in 1993 and had to learn by his own how to survive in his real world. That prision in São Vicente is now closed. No more cetacean deaths occurred there since 1993.



Bia and Tiquinha exposed at the Shopping Center (Photo: Alberto Helena Garcia)

Yes... this is true and it happened in Brazil. A female and calf pair of Amazon dolphins (Inia geoffrensis) was captured in Rio Formoso, state of Goiás in 1985. They were brought to a very small pool in a Shopping Center called "Morumbi Shopping", located in the city of São Paulo. Their prision was 4 meters deep and seemed like a store window. The ones who were dealing with those dolphins had never learned anything about cetaceans. They called "Bia" the adult female and "Tiquinha" the calf. On May 29th 1987 "Tiquinha" died with chronic pneumonia. A Non-Governamental Organization called "União Internacional de Proteção aos Animais" (UIPA) ordered the Brazilian government to release the other dolphin. In July 1988, "Bia" was released in Rio Formoso and disappeared. That prision in that Shopping was then closed.



In 1985, two juvenile orcas were captured in Icelandic waters. They were taken from those clean waters directly to the polluted city of São Paulo. In São Paulo they lived in a very small prision with a murky water located inside an amusement park called "Playcenter". They received the names "Nandú" (male) and "Samoa" (female). Probably victim of stress, "Nandú" ate three basketballs and all the plastic that covered their prision inner wall. He always had digestive problems. On March 2nd 1988 "Nandú" died with an adrenal gland tumor. He was 4 meters long and no more than 4 years old. "Samoa" stayed alone until March 1989, when she was sold to Sea World in Orlando, where she died three years later with no more than 6 years old. Some bottlenose dolphins and California sea lions were also forced to work for food in that facility, but we had no information about them. Since 1990, that amusement park has kept no more marine mammals.

A bottlenose dolphin and Samoa at the stage at Playcenter Amusement Park (Photos: Marcos César de O. Santos)

A bottlenose dolphin and Samoa at the stage at Playcenter Amusement Park (Photos: Marcos César de O. Santos)

Samoa just a few minutes before traveling to Sea World (Photo: Folha de São Paulo Files)

(Photo: Marcos César de O. Santos)


"Orcas can live up to 90 years in the wild.
They live an average of only 5.2 years in captivity"
(Cetacean Society International)