Richard Branson has announced new plans to work on a dolphin sea sanctuary of his company Virgin with the National Aquarium in Baltimore. The sea sanctuary will house the aquarium’s seven dolphins, and this follows Virgin’s pledge in recent years to drive change in the entertainment industry.
Virgin pledged to commit to working with businesses that do not take sea mammals from the wild and consultations between activists, scientists, non-profit organisations, tourism operators and organisations running marine parks were held to begin the change needed to eliminate sea mammals used as entertainment in insufficient captivity.
Last year saw Virgin Holidays announce that they would also not add any new attractions featuring cetaceans into their portfolio and explore the alternative options to captivity. Branson explains further in his blog post: “Many of them were born in captivity and have never spent a day of their lives in open water. That’s an important consideration as we continue to work with some of the operators.
A sudden shutdown of facilities without clear strategy could spell doom for these amazing animals. Active engagement that supports long-term business transformation away from captive entertainment seems the much better option.”
Talking about the project, Branson writes: “It is about finding ways in which welfare, conservation and education can be reconciled without causing further harm. To this end, Virgin Holidays has also committed to a new two-year partnership with the World Cetacean Alliance that will see newly created Responsible Whale Watching Guidelines rolled out to all Virgin Holidays suppliers.”
This a step forward in the right direction to caring for animals in an environment that is as natural as they would be in, however with the necessary protection or people. He signs off from the blog post saying: “To future generation, orca acrobatics and dolphin rides will seem like a relic of the past. Innovations like the dolphin sanctuary tell me we can do much better.”