midiamimesUN-backed resolution urges an end to live captures of whales and dolphins

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Dolphinaria, Italy (Photo: Born Free Foundation)ENDCAP welcomes the news that the Convention on Migratory Species (CMS), the UN-backed treaty that aims to protect wildlife and habitats, has passed a resolution that calls on countries to stop live wild-capture of whales and dolphins. The Resolution, signed by the 120 signatory countries, recognises the threat posed to wild whale and dolphin populations through the removal of individuals for public display in commercial aquaria and travelling shows. Countries have been urged to develop and implement national legislation and to consider the welfare implications of the practice.
 
Whales and dolphins are regularly captured from the wild to stock the commercial facilities across the world, which provide public entertainment through choreographed performances of trained whales and dolphins. A lucrative industry, an individual trained orca is said to be worth US$5 million and generate significant local income with global tourism destinations and thus encouraging the development of captive dolphin facilities.
 
Each year, as part of dolphin drives in Taiji (Japan) and Solomon Islands that sees thousands of dolphins killed primarily for meat, hundreds of individuals are captured for the captive dolphin industry. Furthermore, since 2012, 11 orca have been captured in the Sea of Okhotsk, Russia, to stock captive dolphin facilities. In 2013, 263 Beluga whales were also captured from Sakhalinsky Bay; every whale being captured from the same demographic unit of the Western-Okhotsk population. This year despite a reduction in the Total Allowable Take (TAT) – 150 for the North Okhotsk subzone, all 150 are earmarked for distribution, among the scientific foundations and commercial organisations using belugas for scientific, cultural and display purposes.
 
The CMS Resolution should restrict future wild captures and encourage the establishment of legislation similar to those in India, Costa Rica, Chile and the European Union that prohibit live capture.
 
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Author: ENDCAP