Mixed emotions mark death of Kelly the dolphin

11 September 2008

Kelly was a common dolphin, and Marineland’s youngest when captured in 1974. Luckily her life story is not a common one: unlike other wild dolphins she has lived a life in captivity,  entertaining Napier visitors and touching the hearts of many.

Project Jonah extends its sympathy to Gary MacDonald and staff at Marineland, and acknowledges the pain of their loss. We are saddened at Kelly’s death, but recognise it marks a new era - the end of dolphin captivity in New Zealand.

Dolphins are intelligent, sensitive, highly complex animals. They have close-knit, complex friendships and family ties, and need to search for live prey, socialise, rest and play as a cohesive group.

Dolphins’ bodies have evolved for speed and in the wild they may travel hundreds of kilometres a day through a vast, ever changing, rich and diverse world. Exchanging that world for a small tank may satisfy human curiosity but not the needs of a dolphin, whose ‘smile’ belies a life of misery.

New Zealand is a country well known for its stand on marine mammal conservation and protection. With Kelly’s death, we now also have the chance to stand firm against another form of cruelty - dolphin captivity.

To find out more about the issue of dolphins in captivity click here.
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