Croatia rejects dolphinarium

May 10, 2007

Victory comes in the United Nations Year of the Dolphin
WSPA applauds our member society Animal Friends Croatia for a successful lobbying campaign to prevent the opening of a dolphinarium in the Croatian town of Vodnjan.

Read the news release from Animal Friends Croatia >>

The dolphinarium was intended to be a special attraction within a new aqua-park called ‘Aquamania', planned by the Vodnjan authorities together with Hungarian investors, Aqua Adora. The attraction was due to open in May 2008, bringing in five dolphins and their trainers from Cuba – despite the recently passed Croatian Animal Protection Act, which became effective on January 1, 2007. The act prohibits the use of wild animals in entertainment, such as circuses or other animal shows.

When Animal Friends Croatia learned of the plans, they applied for assistance from WSPA to bolster their intensive campaign to stop the project. WSPA provided financial backing and partnership support for the powerful local and national campaign against the dolphinarium.

Animal Friends Croatia worked with dolphin expert Richard O'Barry to lobby the Mayor of Vodnjan and Croatian government officials to stop the development. Their educational lobbying approach worked, and an announcement from the mayor on May 10th stated that the dolphinarium would no longer be included in the planned aqua-park. Their campaign got an extra boost when Croatian authorities announced plans to ban the holding of dolphin species in captivity.

This victory for dolphins comes in the year that the United Nations Convention on Migratory Species has declared the “Year of the Dolphin”. The objective of the UN declaration is to protect wild dolphins and create a safe ocean home to protect them from harm. The Year of the Dolphin campaign will focus on raising awareness of dolphins in the wild, the threats to their survival, and actions that could help their conservation by informed decision-making and by involving local communities. A crucial factor in achieving this is education and therefore, the Year of the Dolphin will be part of the UN Decade on Education for Sustainable Development.

Please visit Free the Dolphins for news, dolphin facts, and dolphin-friendly vacation ideas. For more information on the Year of the Dolphin, click here.

How Can You Help Dolphins Worldwide?

An amusement park in the Dominican Republic is trying to import twelve dolphins captured during Japan's bloody drive fisheries. To view the video of the capture of dolphins during Japan's bloody drive fisheries, please click here. Please be aware that this footage is very graphic and disturbing.

WSPA urges supporters to write a polite email to President Leonel Fernandez Reyna of the Dominican Republic requesting that he use his authority to deny the import of 12 dolphins captured during Japans' bloody drive fisheries. Remind him that allowing the import of these dolphins will imply support of Japan's annual dolphin hunts and provide further incentive to the fishermen in Taiji to continue their hunts. More information on this issue >>

Please send your email to:

Learn more about efforts to stop Japan's annual dolphin hunts >>

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