Dolphin and Whale Protection

Cetaceans home

To start with, please see our list of the 10 Worst Tanks for Dolphins & Whales in North America.

Dolphins and whales, referred to collectively as cetaceans, represent more than intelligent minds and friendly faces in the world’s oceans. While they’ve captured the hearts and imagination of people for millennia, they have also been cruelly exploited in some exceptional ways; ironically, often for the same reasons we are so fascinated by them. Now that we know more, we can do more for them.

Is a world in which all cetaceans are protected and respected rather than exploited.

Our Mission

Is to demonstrably reduce the degree and quantity of physical and psychological suffering in cetaceans from humans – in captivity and in the wild. Ultimately, to also to enhance the wellbeing, survival and cultures of cetacean individuals and populations.

Our Strategy 

To address cetacean protection, both in captivity and the wild, when our impacts may be the most notable, using a strategy of research, investigation, direct action, political action, policy, public awareness, and education.


Captive Cetaceans

We work to improve the wellbeing of all dolphins and whales by:

  • Preventing future captures
  • Supporting the creation of the first cetacean sanctuaries and, if feasible, opportunities for successful reintroduction of cetaceans to the wild
  • Improving the lives of captive orcas and other cetaceans forced to live in solitary confinement with no others of the same species
  • Identifying and bettering the lives of cetaceans
  • Ending the use of captive cetaceans for interactive programs with the public such as “petting pools” and “swim programs” that pose additional and serious risks and impacts


In the wild

We protect the lives, wellbeing, and societal cultures of free-ranging cetacean individuals and populations – including their habitats.


Where captivity and the wild collide 

We emphasize areas of both cetacean captivity and cetacean conservation where these issues collide. Regularly we address cetaceans captured from the wild and captive facilities that misinform visitors about cetaceans and their natural environment.


Where cetacean and elephant issues intersect

We highlight the plight of both elephants and orcas, in particular, when prominent issues facing both occur in similar ways. Orcas and elephants share exceptionally similar behaviors, life history characteristics. Both are ecological keystone species and they are similarly iconic for zoos and aquaria. Towards this goal, In Defense of Animals has initiated the WELL Project – Whales, Elephants, Life and Liberty. Please sign up for our updates to learn more. 

Our Cetacean and Elephant Scientist, Toni Frohoff, Ph.D. is a wildlife behavioral-biologist who has been studying wildlife, with an emphasis on dolphins, whales, and elephants, for over 30 years. She specializes in human interactions with non-human animals and the psychological well-being of animals in the wild and captivity. Dr. Frohoff conducted the first research on dolphins used in captive swim-with and petting pool programs, and has been studying cetacean communication, cognition, and psychology in the wild – but only on their terms.

Having a world-class expert on our team makes In Defense of Animals particularly well-poised to implement much needed and uniquely effective programs to protect our dolphin and whale neighbors who are relying on us.

We welcome your support as we strive to protect dolphins and whales!


You can support this campaign with our shop