Historical! The Barcelona Zoo closes its dolphinarium!

The Barcelona Zoo has kept its promise, and the city is once again a pioneer in animal protection. Thus, it becomes the first city in Spain to close its dolphinarium and position itself against the captivity of these intelligent marine mammals.


After years of protests, collecting signatures, meetings, and various campaigns to end the exploitation of dolphins at the Barcelona Zoo, the City Council announced this Monday, July 20, that Nuik, Tumay, and Blau, the last three dolphins in The Barcelona Zoo have already left and they have been transferred to an Athens zoo. They have arrived this Sunday afternoon with a team of caretakers from Barcelona, ​​who will guarantee the correct adaptation to the new facilities and the new group of animals.

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The transfer has been made in a cargo plane specially prepared and conditioned for the occasion. The flight had been delayed by the coronavirus. The trainers have worked with the animals in recent months to prepare them for the move.

Once arrived at the destination, the dolphins have been housed in acclimatization pools where they will rest until they join the rest of the dolphins. A specialized company, the same one that, in 1994, transferred the Orca Ulises from Barcelona to the Sea World in San Diego has been in charge of the transfer.

5-year wait

The Ada Colau government’s decision in 2016, it had the support of four of the seven political forces of the Barcelona City Council, who agreed that the next animalistic step that the city should take was to become a city free of cetaceans in captivity.
Barcelona en Comú, the PSC, Esquerra, and the CUP opted to move towards a new Zoo model in which dolphins in captivity no longer have a place in the 21st century.

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AnimaNaturalis joined the # AdéuDelfinari campaign in June 2016 to raise awareness about the problems suffered by cetaceans living in the Barcelona dolphinarium, and ask for the support of citizens through a signature collection initiated by FAADA.

The Barcelona Zoo, after constant requests from animal groups and political parties such as Barcelona en Comú and ERC, already bet a year ago to advance animal rights and eliminated the show with dolphins.

Sunday, November 15, 2015, was the last performance of the dolphins and since then, visitors could observe these mammals without having to do any acrobatic displays.

The only entertainment offered to the public so far was to watch the caretakers feed the dolphins or play various enrichment and management games, without music, without applause, without inducing them to engage in the usual unnatural behaviors they are accustomed to. be subjected in exchange for receiving food.


Anak -who was born free in the Caribbean Sea-, Blau, Tumay, Leia, Kuni and Nuik were the 6 dolphins that kept the Barcelona Zoo captive.

However, for years now, the obsolete facilities did not meet the requirements of the European Aquatic Mammal Association (EAAM) and the animals suffered from social and stress conflicts, recognized by the caretakers themselves.

That is why Leia and Kuni were transferred to the Oceonogràfic de València in September 2016, a recommendation that came from the European Conservation Program.

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Why are they not released to the sea?

Few captive whales and dolphins have been returned to the sea after long-term captivity. Although it is what we would like the most, these dolphins have been born in captivity and do not know the sea.

Experts and animal defense organizations specializing in cetaceans say that after long periods of time in captivity, they may be too physically or mentally handicapped to survive without human care.

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Yes, there are cases of releases in which it has been shown that the animals have been able to live for years in freedom.

SOS Delfines explains that a specific multi-stage plan should be developed for each individual, with the ultimate goal of their release to the sea, but with long-term care options if such release is not possible in the end. Unfortunately, this plan is likely to be outside the budget of any city council.



I have no comment, but instead, I post the story from the Andreas Morlok website about what he and his team experienced while visiting the dolphinarium.
This includes the video:

“On May 14th, 2016 we did some research during our campaign “EU – DOLPHINARIUM FREE” in the zoo in Barcelona, and we were shocked by the space available to the dolphins!

It is probably one of the smallest dolphin prisons in Europe!

Several dolphins were locked up in the smallest mini pools. Two of them were in a dilapidated hall where one quickly got the impression that the roof would collapse at any moment.

Several dolphins were even locked separately in a mini outdoor pool, which was not open to the public and had only a few square meters of water. Closed locks prevented the animals from entering the hall to their fellow species!

The dolphins in the hall were completely underwhelmed and made a disturbing impression. One of them kept shoving his head under a curtain on the edge of the pool to see if there was food or if he was busy with anything.

There were no toys or anything at all that the dolphins could have dealt with. Another dolphin was hanging from a closed lock and made a lethargic impression.

Public shows no longer took place in this dolphinarium. The grandstands had been closed and there was no seating. The zoo visitors were guided through a corridor in the hall and received information about the bottlenose dolphin on a tape.

After a few minutes, every visitor left the hall again”.

We are very happy about the abolition of another animal prison.
We wish our friends good luck in their new environment, and we hope that we will soon read about the closure of all dolphinariums in the world.

My best regards to all, Venus

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