[Abstract from the newsletter]
A few days ago HEPCA received several reports from members of the local caring community, denouncing the discovery of four dolphins kept in appalling conditions in a private villa pool in Hurghada.
The HEPCA team was informed that the dolphins come from Japan and are supposed to be the main attraction of a new dolphinarium currently under construction in Hurghada area. According to Egyptian regulations, they are required to be kept in quarantine for a minimum of 105 days, to ascertain that are healthy and able to perform.
All rumours that the source of these dolphins is the Egyptian Red Sea are false!
After the Red Sea Governorate learned about the four dolphins, they officially defined their position against holding dolphins in captivity within the borders of the Red Sea governorate. We hope that this will include the cancellation of the planned dolphinarium in Hurghada, before it opens its gates. Hopefully too, promulgation of new laws will prevent this from happening again.
Unfortunately, there is not much that can be done for the four dolphins. The issue is very complex and must be rationally, objectively analysed, primary, humane goal to provide them with better conditions. They cannot be released to the open sea – as they are not native to the Red Sea, introducing them into the wild would create a risk of genetic and disease contamination that could affect the health of the local bottlenose dolphin population. Furthermore, chances of the dolphins’ survival and quality of life in case of release are slim: it would be important to understand if the dolphins were born in captivity or caught at sea. The probability of survival depends primarily on the time spent in captivity. Additionally, if they were born in captivity, they will not have developed the skills needed to survive in the wild and so there would be no hope for them to survive in the sea.
All that can be done now is to improve the conditions in which they are kept: it is urgent to provide them with more space and better water quality, conforming to international standards. This might be achieved by intervention at the swimming pool, where they are presently confined, or creating a new tank to care for them until the end of the quarantine period, before moving to their final destinations. Another issue arises then: transfers are very stressful events for dolphins, which seriously risk further weaken these already suffering animals and should therefore be minimised. We all desire to rescue these animals, and in order to achieve this without further harm, all factors must be carefully considered.
We are asking everyone out there to spread the news concerning this inadmissible situation: but please be aware that rumours and falsifications are not helpful. This is a critical moment in which rational thinking, not emotion, must guide our actions. Impulsive acts or brash statements may well end up being detrimental to the health and well-being of the animals.
As this story develops, HEPCA will keep the community informed with regular updates. Other pertinent information can be found here. Please be sure to check out HEPCA website and newsletter.