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Concern over solitary dolphin in Japan aquarium

An update from Japan on the situation at Inubosaki Marine Park
Captive dolphin swims alone in an outside pool, Image source:

Concern over solitary dolphin in Japan aquarium

Concern is growing over the care and welfare of a solitary dolphin and other animals being housed at a closed-down aquarium in Japan.

A bottlenose dolphin called ‘Honey’, birds, fish and reptiles are all still being housed at the Inubosaki Marine Park in the Chiba prefecture of Japan, despite it being closed in early 2018. Animal welfare campaigners and the zoo association in Japan are concerned for the conditions the animals may currently be facing. Wild Welfare has made contact with its Japanese colleagues to try and better understand the condition the dolphin and the other animals are in and if anything is being done to make improvements for them.

Inubosaki Marine Park is not a member of the Japanese Association of Zoos and Aquariums (JAZA) (which has around 300 zoo and aquarium members across Japan), but JAZA has been in contact with the Park after receiving numerous concern reports for the animals housed there. JAZA have been trying to work with the Park to move the animals to another facility but since earlier this year have not been able to reach the Park staff. They said a local government official has been checking the animals on a monthly basis and reports that they are healthy. JAZA have made an official statement on their website which they translated to us as: “We, JAZA is ready to receive animals from Inubosaki Marine Park and we are waiting their contact to us.”

The Animal Rights Center Japan (ARCJ) has been trying to make contact with Inubosaki Marine Park but has had no response. ARCJ states that Honey is being kept alone in an outside pool which is small in size and appears unclean. They said the condition of her skin appears cracked and they are concerned she might be displaying stereotypical behaviours. They are calling for Honey to be moved to a sanctuary.

Wild Welfare’s projects director, Georgina Groves, said: “There is always concern around keeping a social species like a dolphin in a solitary situation, as appears to be the situation with Honey. Isolation is likely to have a strongly negative affect on the health and welfare of a social animal and we would urge the aquarium to consider moving Honey to a more suitable environment as soon as possible.”

We are staying in touch with our colleagues in Japan and will bring you further updates as we receive them.


Notes to Editors

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Wild Welfare is a global organisation committed to improving animal welfare for captive wild animals. By uniting the world’s leading zoos, zoo associations and animal welfare organisations, we build trusting partnerships that help provide long-term solutions to critical wild animal welfare issues.

Our vision is to end the suffering of captive wild animals around the world and ensure full and sustainable protection is given to all animals in human care. Find out more at Registered charity in England (no.1165941).

Image source: Honey in the outside pool at Inubosaki Marine Park