The sanctuary may be the solution for the dolphins after the closure of Barcelona Zoo’s Dolphinarium

The mayor of Barcelona, Ada Colau, is expected to decide the outcomes for dolphins staying in captivity in Barcelona. Currently, the city has decided that Barcelona Zoo should pay a total of 15 million euros to expand its facilities or, otherwise, shut down. An option for accommodating the dolphins temporarily will be to create a marine sanctuary for dolphins on a Greek island has now arisen . The city has come up with an idea of creating a  to accommodate the dolphins for a few months before releasing them back into the wild.

A cove on the Greek island of Lipsi serves as a haven for these dolphins; it will be the first in the world when completed.

If Barcelona decides to transfer the dolphins from the cramped facilities to the sanctuary, it would be a major victory for the movement in defense of these intelligent cetaceans. Until now, there was only one steady sanctuary project in the world: the US National Aquarium. Three months ago, it has announced that eight dolphin shelters should be ready by 2020.

The sanctuary, in the form of a fenced pool, is located on the Greek island of Lipsi. The “released” dolphins will be in their natural surrounding: sea, plants and other marine creatures. To be specific, the bay is 350 meters long and is closed on one end with a safety net to keep the protected animals. Dolphins born in captivity are not capable of surviving in the open sea. As such, they will be fed and cared for by specialists, veterinarians, and students.

The project is implemented by a Greek organisation called Archipelagos. According to FAADA (Foundation for the Assessment and Action in Defense of Animals), It is dedicated to the study the preservation of the marine environment. “The mayor is enthusiastic about the idea, thinking it is a good thing for the island to encourage tourism,” explains Miriam Martínez, a veterinarian of FAADA. A few kilometers north of Lipsi is the island of Samos, near the Turkish coast, where thousands of Syrian refugees seek shelter.



The expansion of the of the Dolphinarium costs 15 million euros while the establishment of a sanctuary does not even reach half a million.

After seeing the sanctuary, FAADA has the intention to present the idea to Colau as soon as possible. The City Council created a new system for the zoo and raised a meeting to discuss the issues of dolphin in this September. “If all the funding is obtained, the sanctuary would be ready to receive the dolphins next year,” said Martinez, who figures that it would cost less than half a million euros to complete the sanctuary facilities. Until now, the sanctuary has been financed by private donations. Barcelona City Council had planned to spend 15 million to expand Dolphinariums until Colau’s team rejected the plan.

This project is part of a campaign, called #AdéuDelfinari, organized by Barcelona. It is designed with the intention of pressuring the council to close the marine facilities that do not meet the European standard. At the moment, if Colou chooses to develop the dolphin sanctuary, Spain would be the first to lead this trend in the protection of dolphins. More than half of Europe’s dolphins are in the hands of Spanish firms; which are opening their twelfth dolphinarium in Lanzarote. Just recently, the Barcelona Zoo has decided to ban all dolphin shows.


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Source: El Pais
Photo credit: progressivespain
Video credit: progessivespain