The National Aquarium has ended dolphin shows like these and is considering moving the animals to a marine sanctuary.

Chris Williamson/Wikimedia Commons

Bye-bye? The National Aquarium has ended dolphin shows like these and is considering moving the animals to a marine sanctuary.

Dolphins May Be Leaving Popular U.S. Aquarium

David is the Online News Editor of Science.

The National Aquarium is considering moving its eight Atlantic bottlenose dolphins to a marine sanctuary, The Baltimore Sun reports. The popular tourist site, located in Baltimore, Maryland, says that it is responding to concerns that keeping such cognitively advanced animals in captivity is inhumane. Scientists have recently sparred over whether dolphins, whales, and other cetaceans belong in aquariums, with some claiming that the confined spaces cause stress, depression, and disease, and other stating that removing these animals would kill important research. The public itself may be souring on such displays, spurred, in part, by the 2013 documentary, Blackfish, which explored the ethics of keeping killer whales in captivity. The National Aquarium has hired a team of consultants to advise on the fate of its dolphins and to help it reimagine the aquarium experience. “We know so much more today about the animals and about our evolving audience,” aquarium CEO John Racanelli told The Sun. “We have to evolve.”

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