Dolphin in captivity dies from cancer aggravated by stress in Turkey, rights group claims
ANTALYA – Doğan News Agency
A dolphin reportedly forced to perform for entertainment has died of cancer due to stress, an animal rights group announced, demanding that the facility holding some three other dolphins be closed and for animals to be freed.
The dolphin died in Moonlight Dolphin Park in Turkey’s southern province of Antalya’s Kemer district yesterday and there are still three dolphins being used by the facility, according to the initiative “Freedom for Dolphins Platform” (Yunuslara Özgürlük Platformu).
Ayışığı Facility’s Moonlight Dolphin Park was sold by its owner to Selicor Tourism and the Dolphin Show Center in it was sold to Ergün Tourism, which holds therapy sessions with disabled children.
A dispute between the owner of the facility and the renters moved the sites to the court and the public prosecutor closed the park down on Aug 12.
The dolphins’ destiny was left in an uncertain situation from then on and one dolphin died of cancer yesterday.
The platform asked officials to determine the reason of death and for the other three dolphins to be examined in case of a contagious disease, requesting for dolphins to be transferred to a special area for them as the park is set to remain closed permanently.
The platform’s representative Öykü Yağcı said Antalya holds a record in Turkey by hosting five dolphins show parks.
At Sealanya Dolphin Show Center, some four dolphins had died in succession in 2010, but there had been no legal investigation into the case.
The initiative also asks for “the captivity of marine mammals that has been going on in nine different facilities in our country to be ended.”
“In dolphin parks, an outdated sense of entertainment which lacks empathy is imposed on our children. These captive marine animals, far away from their natural habitats and natural behavior, are misrepresented to our children who eventually become part of this dirty commerce,” the group says.
Dolphins, whales, sea lions, seals and walruses are among the species which are forbidden to hunt.
Keeping them in captivity and using them for commercial purposes is a violation of the Bern Convention on the Conservation of European Wildlife and Natural Habitats, which is also signed by Turkey, the platform states on its website.
The Dolphin Park in Antalya’s Kaş, which received strong criticism from NGOs for using the animals for show, was finally closed in May.
Two dolphins kept in captivity in a dolphin park were transferred on April 25 to the Moonlight Dolphinarium in Kemer following an outcry over their treatment.
The dolphins were previously brought to Kaş for rehabilitation from the Aegean province of Muğla’s Bodrum town but were in fact kept at the center that used the animals for entertainment.