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Stop Brookfield Zoo’s “Dolphin Coffin" Shipment

Stop Brookfield Zoo’s “Dolphin Coffin" Shipment

The Brookfield Zoo in Illinois is applying for a permit to transfer up to three dolphins currently imprisoned at its Bermuda Dolphin Quest location, to be sent either to Brookfield Zoo itself, or to the Coral World facility, in the Virgin Islands. The move will involve shipping dolphins in full body confinement for many hours, without even telling the U.S. government where they will ultimately end up. These exploited dolphins need your voice right now to stop this cruel transfer from taking place.

Submitted by Brookfield Zoo, the application is remarkably evasive and contains few details. It identifies three dolphins for potential transfer, but not with certainty, and sets the timeline of the transfer for any time in the next five years. The application also fails to state whether the dolphins will be forced to perform in swim-with encounters.

Worst of all, the application doesn’t even specify who will end up where. Brookfield Zoo in Illinois and Coral World in the Virgin Islands are listed as potential destinations, and neither are good options for the dolphins. Coral World confines dolphins in areas where water quality and noise pollution are issues, which could adversely impact them every moment of their confined lives. The Brookfield Zoo has previously been shamed on In Defense of Animals’ annual list of the 10 Worst Zoos for Elephants for its failure to provide adequate care for elephants.

The lack of details on the application raises questions about whether Brookfield Zoo is really trying to traffic dolphins through its facility, which appears more legitimate due to its certification by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums, to Coral World, which is not certified.

Sadly, these female dolphins are considered property and are “owned” by Brookfield Zoo, and were transferred on “breeding loan” to Dolphin Quest Bermuda. Wherever they end up, they will be used as breeding machines to restock the captive population, forced to produce cute babies who tend to draw the biggest crowds.

Transporting dolphins causes them undeniable stress and could take upwards of 12 hours. The dolphins would be constricted the entire time within tanks barely bigger than their bodies, that bear a strong resemblance to coffins. Also traumatic will be the severing of their current social bonds with other dolphins in Bermuda.

Please take immediate action to stop this trauma-filled potential transfer!


What You Can Do:

Send an email to Julia Marie Harrison, Chief of Permits and Conservation Division, Office of Protected Resources, National Marine Fisheries Service.

We encourage you to personalize your email and add any additional thoughts or opinions you wish. The more individualized these emails are, the more effective they will be.

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