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Alliance Statement On Sea Shepherd’s “World Love Of Dolphins Day” Protests



Feb. 12, 2016 –A number of Alliance of Marine Mammal Parks & Aquariums (AMMPA) member facilities are targeted for Sea Shepherd protests this Sat., Feb. 13, on what the group has proclaimed “World Love for Dolphins Day,” over the Valentine’s Day weekend.  The group falsely claims that zoos and aquariums promote and somehow perpetuate drive fisheries that have occurred for centuries in Taiji, Japan.

However, for many years Alliance members have repeatedly condemned the inhumane killing of dolphins that occurs during the Japanese drive fisheries, and members of the Alliance do not collect animals from the drive or otherwise support it.

"In an effort to advance its anti-zoo and aquarium agenda, Sea Shepherd has chosen the wrong target to effect change and end the Taiji drive hunt and is instead undermining the critical rescue and rehabilitation and scientific research work of accredited marine parks, aquariums and zoos throughout the world,” said AMMPA President and CEO Kathleen Dezio.  “Zoological experts in our facilities have dedicated their lives to providing the best possible care to marine mammals in our facilities and their facilities spend millions studying them and rescuing, rehabilitating animals in the wild. They are the ones who show they really love dolphins by their actions every single day,” she said. 
Dezio noted that the majority of dolphins cared for by Alliance members were born in accredited facilities due to their successful breeding programs and the high quality of animal care provided by accredited members.

Alliance member facilities work to optimize the physical health of and environmental conditions for the individual marine mammals in their care and maximize their educational and scientific value.  Animals in Alliance-accredited facilities receive high quality, nutritious food and preventative veterinary care supervised by licensed professionals.  They exercise and play in ways that are mentally and physically beneficial, and voluntarily engage in training done through positive reinforcement methods and based on mutual respect.  Training engages and stimulates the animals and also enables them to participate in their own health care.

Accredited Alliance members and the hundreds of animal care professionals affiliated with them are the true animal advocates.  Possessing an extraordinary collective body of marine mammal knowledge and experience, they know firsthand the educational and inspirational experiences children and adults have when they see live whales, dolphins and other marine mammals up close and in person at our facilities, and they understand the positive and lasting impact on ocean conservation these important interactions can have on humans.
Education and Conservation Impact of Accredited Alliance Facilities
It’s the love of dolphins and other marine mammals that inspires Alliance members’ commitment to connecting millions of people each year with the chance to see and to learn from these amazing marine mammals.

The importance and positive impact of education programs at accredited zoological institutions is well documented:

  • The majority of Americans support accredited zoos and aquariums and understand that if it were not for these facilities, children as well as adults would have no viable way to see, experience and learn to care about marine mammals.
  • The National Science Teachers Association (NSTA) recognizes the strong educational role of accredited zoos and aquariums and references a growing body of research that documents how informal learning experiences spark curiosity and engage interest in the sciences during the school years and throughout a lifetime. 
  • The April 2010 issue of the journal Nature included an article titled “Learning in the Wild: Much of What People Know about Science Is Learned Informally. Education Policy-Makers Should Take Note,” which cites evidence suggesting that most of what the general public knows about science is learned outside school through visits.  


About the Alliance of Marine Mammal Parks and Aquariums

The Alliance of Marine Mammal Parks and Aquariums is an international association and accrediting body for marine life parks, aquariums, zoos dedicated to the highest standards of care for marine mammals and to their conservation in the wild through public education and scientific research.  Membership in the Alliance is based on successful completion of the Alliance’s stringent accreditation process that helps ensure professionally accepted standards in animal care and handling.  Under several federal statutes, Alliance member facilities are also regularly inspected by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal & Plant Health Inspection Service and are under the oversight of the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service and the National Marine Fisheries Service.  Collectively, Alliance members represent the greatest body of expertise and experience in marine mammal husbandry and in-water interactive programs in the world.

Feb. 12, 2016

Bridget Stratton
(312) 558-1770