In April this year, Responsible Travel and the World Cetacean Alliance launched a petition to encourage the travel industry to stop supporting killer whale and dolphin shows. The petition has already been signed by over 8,500 individuals, travel companies, charities, non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and other businesses.
* Survey was carried out by Censuswide on behalf of Responsible Travel and the Born Free Foundation. A total of 2050 people responded online in the UK between 2nd May - 8th May 2014.
** Statement read by respondents before the final question:
Captive whales and dolphins are kept in marine parks and visited by tourists on holiday. They are highly intelligent, social animals. In the wild, they:
- live in family groups, called pods of up to 100 individuals;
- have considerably higher life expectancies than their counterparts in captivity;
- can swim the equivalent distance of London to Sheffield (260km) or more in one day;
- are capable of diving to depths greater than the height of Niagara Falls (60m) and hunting live fish using sophisticated techniques.
In captivity these animals are confined to tanks, they are fed dead fish and commonly develop problems such as abnormal repetitive behaviour and aggression. They are trained to perform tricks and stunts, often to loud music and a cheering crowd.
Notes to Editors
Dolphins and killer whales in captivity
Over 2000 dolphins, 227 beluga whales, 52 killer whales, 37 porpoises and 17 false killer whales (collectively referred to as 'cetaceans') are held in 343 captive dolphin facilities in 63 countries across the world. The majority of captive cetaceans are used in circus-style performances, often accompanied by loud music, as a form of entertainment. Cetaceans are also used in interactive sessions with the public both in terms of recreation, such as swim-with and in petting activities, as a prop within a souvenir photograph and as part of therapy, for people with disabilities.
In the wild, the smallest bottlenose dolphin home ranges are in the order of 125 square kilometres. Orcas can dive as deep as 400 metres2 and may travel as far as 260 kilometres in a day. Almost always in motion, cetaceans spend only 20% or less of their time at the water's surface. Captive facilities cannot compare to the vast natural environment of wild cetaceans and even the largest facilities are just a fraction of the animals' natural home range in size. When denied adequate space, these large, wide-ranging carnivores commonly develop problems such as abnormal repetitive behaviour, aggression and in some species, early mortality.
In addition Responsible Travel:
- founded and organises The World Responsible Tourism Awards, celebrating 11 years at World Travel Market this year.
- campaigns for positive change in the travel and tourism industry.
- publishes an expanding series of honest, expert 2 minute travel guides.
CEO Justin Francis has been included in Courvoisiers The Future 500, Thames and Hudsons 60 Innovators Shaping Our Creative Future and taken his place on the Advisory Board of The Centre for Responsible Tourism at Manchester Metropolitan University.
The company is based in Brighton's North Laine district, England.
About Born Free Foundation
Born Free Foundation is a dynamic international wildlife charity, founded by Virginia McKenna and Bill Travers following their starring roles in the classic film Born Free. Today, led by their son Will Travers, Born Free is working worldwide for wild animal welfare and compassionate conservation.
Born Free supports and manages a diverse range of projects and campaigns. The charity embraces both compassion and science in setting an agenda that seeks to influence, inspire and encourage a change in public opinion away from keeping wild animals in captivity, while in the short-term working with governments, the travel industry and like-minded organisations to seek compliance with existing legislation and improving the welfare conditions. This has included the development of ABTA's Global Welfare Guidance for Animals in Tourism. Through its Compassionate Conservation agenda, Born Free provides protection for threatened species and their habitats across the globe. Working with local communities, Born Free develops humane solutions to ensure that people and wildlife can live together without conflict. In 2013, the Born Free Foundation received the World Tourism Award, for its commitment to conservation.
About the World Cetacean Alliance
The World Cetacean Alliance (WCA) is a network of 53 partners in 19 countries across North America, Latin America and the Caribbean, Europe, Africa, Asia, and Oceania. WCA partners work together to conserve and protect cetaceans and their habitats in all of the world's oceans, seas and rivers, acknowledging that cetaceans have the right to live free and in the wild. http://www.worldcetaceanalliance.org/
- Shirley Galligan, PR Director, The Born Free Foundation T: 0207 792 9668 M: 07773 848352
- Victoria Lockwood, PR Officer, The Born Free Foundation T: 01403 240170 M: 07920 195512
- Sarah Bareham, Marketing Assistant, Responsible Travel - T: 01273 829869, firstname.lastname@example.org